After adjusting its rules last year so that streaming-only releases could be eligible for Grammy consideration, the Recording Academy has made more changes that will affect voting, songwriters, rap-related categories and more. SVP of Awards Bill Freimuth spoke to Billboard which reported:


For the first time, voting members will cast their Grammy Awards votes online rather than by paper ballot. This transition will provide greater flexibility for touring artists, eliminate the possibility of invalid ballots, and protect further against fraudulent voting.

Freimuth said, “When I met younger voters and talked about the ballots going out in the U.S. mail, I got eye-rolls and sighs. It was frustrating for us to lose a segment of voters because they were on the road.”

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All music creators (songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers, mastering engineers, featured artists) credited with at least one-third (33 percent or more) of the playing time on the winning album will be eligible to win their own Grammy in the Album Of The Year category. Previously, songwriters were not recognized in this category.

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Nominations Review Committees will be created and implemented for the Rap, Contemporary Instrumental, and New Age Fields. A Nominations Review process was established in 1989 as an additional round of checks and balances to eliminate the potential for a popularity bias that puts emerging artists, independent music, and late-year releases at a disadvantage. Fifteen other categories – including album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist – already have such committees.

Freimuth said the committees help “override the popular vote to focus on what is really the best” and that rap professionals have grown concerned that “most of people being nominated were the big names.” He added, “While they certainly are not saying that those people at times shouldn’t be deserving, maybe not absolutely everything they do is Grammy worthy.”

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