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Grammys makes major changes to awards process following criticism

The Grammys has removed the controversial review committees from its awards process following high-profile criticism from A-list stars, including The Weeknd (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
The Grammys has removed the controversial review committees from its awards process following high-profile criticism from A-list stars, including The Weeknd (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The Recording Academy has removed controversial review committees from the Grammy Awards nominations process following criticism from A-list stars.

The body said nominations for the general and genre fields would now be voted on by a majority of members rather than anonymous groups of experts from within the academy.

The changes will come into effect for the 64th Grammy Awards, which are set to take place on January 31, 2022.

The Weeknd
The Weeknd publicly criticised the Grammys’ nominations process and said he would boycott future ceremonies (PA)

The Recording Academy said: “With this change, the results of Grammy nominations and winners are placed back in the hands of the entire voting membership body, giving further validation to the peer-recognised process.”

Previously, for categories including record, album and song of the year, committees consisting of at least 20 members selected nominees by whittling down the wider membership’s original choices.

Supporters said the system protected the integrity of voting but critics argued it left too much power in the hands of faceless and unaccountable committees.

Artists of colour have long said the system resulted in them missing out on the more prestigious categories.

Earlier this year Canadian superstar The Weeknd said he would boycott future Grammys after receiving zero nominations at the 63rd ceremony, despite enjoying huge commercial and critical success in the qualifying year.

“Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” he said in a statement to the New York Times.

Halsey and Zayn Malik also publicly criticised the awards.

Doing away with committees was not the only change announced by the Recording Academy.

It has also reduced the number of genre field categories on which members can vote, in a move it hopes will ensure they will only have a say in their fields of expertise.

However, all voters are allowed to cast a ballot in the four general field categories – album, record, song of the year and best new artist.

The academy said the changes would help fight bloc voting. It also said six craft fields would be slimmed down into two – presentation field and production field, while the committees would remain in place for the craft categories.

And two new categories were announced in the form of best global music performance, in the global music field, and best musica urbana album in the Latin music field.

That brings the total number of Grammy categories to 86.

The changes were rubberstamped at a board of trustees meeting on Friday.

Harvey Mason Jr, chair and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy, said: “This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community.

“While change and progress are key drivers of our actions, one thing will always remain — the Grammy Award is the only peer-driven and peer-voted recognition in music.”

The eligibility period for the 64th Grammy Awards is September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

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