The Recording Academy has announced the latest round of updates to Grammy Awards rules and guidelines, the second such amendment this year. It’s complicated, so focus up.
Significant among this latest round are an expansion of the eligibility for credited producers, songwriters and engineers in the Album of the Year category — all are now eligible, whereas recognition was previously limited to those credited on 33% or more of an album’s playing time. Also, the percentage of newly recorded material required for an album to be eligible for award consideration has been raised from 50% to 75% recorded within five years of release date. The full list of revisions appears in its entirety below; the updated Grammy rules and guidelines can be found here.
While the Grammys revise their rules every year, the above two in particular address ones that have long been questioned, particularly by songwriters, producers and engineers who participated in commercially or artistically significant songs on Grammy-winning albums but were not recognized because they’d worked on less than 33% of the album’s total playing time. Similarly, the rule regarding the percentage of newly recorded material may be aimed at albums that added older material to deluxe re-releases in order to meet the minimum qualifying playing time.
Other notable changes include the prohibition of Academy members and their publicists to lobby for any recordings except their own; the addition of a optional second Technical award; renaming of the Best Dance Recording category to Dance/Electronic; and several visual media and film updates.
The latest amendments are in addition to the previously announced changes in April, which included the discontinuation of the controversial nomination-review committees, the reduction in the number of categories voters may vote and the addition of the Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album categories, among other updates. Nearly all of the changes go into effect immediately for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards taking place Jan. 31, 2022 (with exceptions marked with an asterisk below*).
“Our peer-driven awards process is all about engagement, and nothing is more invigorating than seeing our members take part in submitting proposals to move the Academy forward,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, who was named permanent president/CEO earlier this month, effective June 1.
“We’re proud to work alongside today’s music creators to ensure their vision for the music industry is reflected in all that we do, and to continue our commitment to transparency by making these updates readily available to anyone that wishes to submit their art for Grammy recognition. These updates are a direct result of our collaborative process, and we’re thankful for the music community’s continued support every step of the way.”
APPROVED RULE AMENDMENTS:
Album Of The Year Category: Nominee And Recipient Eligibility
Moving forward, all credited producers, songwriters and engineers are eligible to be GRAMMY nominees and recipients in the Album Of The Year category. Previously, the rule stated that all artists, songwriters, producers, recording engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers were required to be credited with at least 33 percent or more of playing time.
Dance Field: Renamed And Redefined Category
The category formerly known as “Best Dance Recording” has been renamed “Best Dance/Electronic Recording.” This category is intended for recordings with significant electronic-based instrumentation generally based around a rhythmic dance beat. The screening criteria includes established dance and electronic recording genres as well as related emerging genres, in order to accurately reflect the current trends in dance and/or electronic music.
Classical Field: Allow Singles In Five Classical Categories
To reflect trends in classical music consumption, singles that are not part of an album will now be eligible in five Classical categories including Best Orchestral Performance, Best Choral Performance, Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, Best Classical Instrumental Solo, and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
Music For Visual Media Field: Compilation Category Limits And Updated Rules
Clearer limits to the number of participants who can be awarded in the Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media category have been set:
- For albums consisting largely of pre-existing masters, up to two album producers and up to two music supervisors can be awarded.
- For albums consisting largely of new recordings, principal artist(s) with significant contributing performance(s) (ensemble-driven casts in which performers have comparable musical and dramatic participation in the recording are not eligible); up to three producer(s) (in extraordinary circumstances an appeal for a possible fourth will be considered); and up to two music supervisors can be awarded. An engineer/mixer(s) who contributes greater than 50 percent playing time of newly recorded material can also be awarded.
Additionally, those entering albums and tracks that are released during the current eligibility period in the Music For Visual Media Field but are associated with a visual medium that will be released during the next eligibility period will now have two options:
- Enter the albums or tracks during the current year in categories that are not in the Music For Visual Media Field. They will not be eligible the following year in the Music For Visual Media Field if this option is chosen.
- Enter them the following year as long as they do not get entered in any category during the current year. Albums will only be eligible in their respective category: Compilation or Score. Songs will be eligible in Song Written For Visual Media. They will also be eligible in other song categories as long as they fulfill the “track from a previous year is eligible” rule.
Music Film Field: Eligibility Clarification
Music-related documentaries must contain a minimum of 51 percent of performance-based material or individual music videos that together create a visual album (if videos are packaged and entered together as one cohesive film). While dramatic feature films and biopics are not eligible, films with fictional elements are eligible.
Technical GRAMMY Award Addition
A second Technical GRAMMY Award has been added, specifically reserved for a company, organization or institution. This award would be optional, and at the yearly discretion of the Technical GRAMMY Committee. The Technical GRAMMY is awarded to those individuals who have dramatically pushed boundaries and made groundbreaking, important, outstanding, and influential contributions of technical excellence and innovation to the recording field throughout their lifetime.
Vote Trading And Manipulation
Academy members or their designated publicists are now restricted to FYC emails, social media posts and physical mailings that promote only their own recordings, prohibiting lobbying on behalf of other members.
To be eligible for GRAMMY Award consideration, an album must contain greater than 75 percent playing time of newly recorded (within five years of the release date), previously unreleased recordings*. The current eligibility rule is 50 percent. (Note: Best Compilation Soundtrack, Best Historical Album, Best Immersive Audio Album, Best Recording Package, Best Special Package, and Best Album Notes accept albums of recordings that are not newly recorded.)
*Note: The updated album eligibility rule goes into effect for the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards taking place in 2023.
The full list of rule amendments for the 64th GRAMMY Awards, including the newly announced changes voted on and passed at the Recording Academy’s most recent semiannual Board of Trustees meeting held in May 2021, can be found in the GRAMMY Awards Rules and Guidelines. For information on the awards process and key dates surrounding the eligibility period for the 64th GRAMMY Awards, visit here.