Why did The Recording Academy decide to change the GRAMMY categories?

The Recording Academy has now been bestowing GRAMMY Awards for 53 years. The awards have grown from 28 categories in 1959 to 109 categories for the most recent 53rd GRAMMYs. While this growth springs from the tradition of honoring specific genres/subgenres within the field, it has been approached one category at a time without a comprehensive current vision guiding this growth. The result has been more of a collage with very little consistency among the various genre Fields.

In early 2009, The Academy embarked on its first-ever comprehensive evaluation of the GRAMMY Awards structure and process. A great deal of research, discussion, and evaluation led to a call for change, embracing the idea that a transformation of the entire awards structure would ensure that each genre would be treated in parity to others.

What is the process for making changes to the GRAMMY Awards?

Every year, our Awards & Nominations (A&N) Committee thoughtfully evaluates submitted proposals for changes to our categories and process. After a thorough review, if these changes are approved by the A&N Committee, they go to our National Board of Trustees to be ratified and, if approved, implemented into the GRAMMY Awards process.

Did these changes go through that process?

Yes. In the spring of 2009, both the A&N Committee and the Trustees unanimously approved a proposal to form a subcommittee charged with reviewing the GRAMMY Awards structure. After a year of diligent research, thoughtful discussion, and thorough evaluation, the subcommittee made its recommendations. The proposal was passed by the Board of Trustees and thus the new GRAMMY Awards structure was formed.

How does the the GRAMMY Awards voting process work?

For a step-by-step overview of the GRAMMY Awards voting process, please visit www.grammy.org/recording-academy/awards/grammy-awards-voting-process.

Why were certain categories consolidated?

Categories were restructured as part of an all-encompassing, comprehensive vision of the overall GRAMMY Awards structure across all Categories and to create parity among Fields. The changes are parallel and consistent across all genres of music.

How will I know what category is most appropriate for my entry?

The GRAMMY Category Mapper is designed to help members and media companies understand the category restructuring in detail, and will show where best to enter submissions. We also will be hosting GRAMMY Award 101 information sessions in each of our 12 Chapter cities throughout April and May. Details regarding these meetings are available at www.GRAMMY365.com/events. (And, as always, the various genre Screening Committees will make the final determination of which category is most appropriate for entries.) If after reviewing the Category Mapper you still have questions as to where to submit your music, the Awards helpline is available at 877.637.6816 (8 a.m. – 6 p.m. PT, Monday – Friday) or email us at awardschanges@grammy.com.

Why were these changes made all at once instead of over several years?

The evaluation and changes were undertaken across the entire GRAMMY structure, and all genres and Fields were addressed. The result is a greater parallel structure across Fields.

Are these changes permanent?

As music evolves, so will we. The Academy considers new proposals every year — as we have done for more than half a century.

Are there other changes this year in addition to the category restructuring?

Yes, two other changes were part of this proposal:

Minimum entry thresholds per Category.
It is now expected that each Category shall have at least 40 artist entries. If a Category receives between 25 – 39 artist entries, only three recordings would receive nominations. If a Category receives fewer than 25 artist entries, the Category would not be presented that year (and entries would be moved to the next most logical Category). If a Category receives fewer than 25 entries for three consecutive years, the Category would be discontinued (and submissions would be entered in the next most appropriate Category).

Number of allowable Fields/Categories per Voting Member.
Previously, voters were allowed to vote in up to nine genre Fields plus the General Field on the first ballot and eight genre Fields plus the General Field on the second ballot. Now, voters may vote in up to 20 Categories in the genre Fields plus the four Categories of the General Field on each ballot.

Who voted on this?

The Board of Trustees for The Recording Academy. What sets the GRAMMY Awards apart from other music awards is that it is a peer-recognized award — music makers recognizing and acknowledging other music makers for their respective work in a given year. Likewise, The Academy is governed by music people: our A&N Committee and Board of Trustees are comprised of musicians, engineers, producers, songwriters, and other music industry professionals from around the country.

How will this affect the entry process? The voting process? The telecast?

Aside from changes detailed above, there will be very little difference in the voting process and the telecast from previous years. The entry process will remain virtually unchanged, and the dates for this year are:

Media Company/Record Label
First Round:     July 6 – 27, 2011
(For October 2010 – July 2011 releases)

Final Round:     August 17 – 31, 2011
(For August 2011 – September 2011 releases)

Recording Academy Members
One Round:     August 2 – 31, 2011
(For all releases).

What does it mean if I’ve won a GRAMMY in a category that has been discontinued?

Categories have changed and evolved many times over the 53 years of the GRAMMY Awards. Receiving a GRAMMY means that you were recognized by your peers with an award that is the highest honor in music, and that will always be the case.

Does this affect the Latin GRAMMYs?

No. The Latin GRAMMYs are presented by The Latin Recording Academy under their rules. Like The Recording Academy, The Latin Academy will continue to do its own annual review of its process and structure.

Where can I ask additional questions about these changes?

After reviewing the resources offered here, if you still have questions, our helpline is available at 877.637.6816 (8 a.m. – 6 p.m. PT, Monday – Friday) or email us at awardschanges@grammy.com.