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THE GRAMMYS ALTER A FEW RULES

The Recording Academy has established new amendments to the Grammy Awards including a transition to online voting, the addition of songwriters to the Album of the Year category and a new layer of nominations review in categories such as rap. On top of that, a 31-minute tuba solo can now be classified as an album.

In addition, they’re announcing nominations earlier than usual, giving Ken Ehrlich an extra week or so to get the show booked.

For the first time, voting members will cast their Grammy votes online, which the Academy says will provide greater flexibility for touring artists, eliminate the possibility of invalid ballots and protect further against fraudulent voting.

Songwriters have been added to the Album of the Year category, which will now honor all music creators (songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers, mastering engineers, featured artists) credited with at least 33% percent or more playing time on the winning album.

Nominations Review Committees will be created for the Rap, Contemporary Instrumental and New Age fields. The 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.

Two changes are made in the Visual Media field. The film version of a track may be entered in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category even if a different version of the track is submitted in other categories. In the Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media category, albums for a documentary or biopic must contain at least 51% newly recorded music.

An album, previously defined as having a minimum playing time of 15 minutes with at least five distinct tracks, is expanded to also include any work with a playing time of 30 minutes with no minimum track requirement. The definition expansion allows for greater inclusion of music creators who produce longer pieces, particularly in classical, dance and jazz.

"As an Academy, it's imperative that we continue to meet the needs of music creators everywhere, and this year's transition to online voting is an enormous step forward in the evolution of our voting process," said Bill Freimuth, Senior Vice President of Awards for the Recording Academy. "We work diligently to ensure we’re keeping up with our ever-changing industry and team up with music people year round, across all genres and disciplines, to make sure we are doing everything we can to support the creative community."

The Academy also laid out the calendar for the 60th annual Grammy Awards, which will be held 1/28 at Madison Square Garden. The online entry period closes 8/24, the first-round ballot period is 10/16–29 with nominations announced 11/28 and final-round ballot period running 12/7–21. Media companies must register by 8/16 to submit recordings.

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