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GREIN ON GRAMMYS: TIME IS ON GRAMMY VOTERS’ SIDE

One positive consequence of the Grammy telecast moving back to its usual early-February date (2/10) is that Grammy voters will have more time to vote this coming year than they did this past year, when the show was pushed back to Jan. 28 to avoid competing with NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics.

In the first round of voting, voters will have one more day to vote than they did last year (15 days, vs. 14 last year). But the more notable gain is in the crucial final round of voting. This year, members will have 28 days to vote, nearly double the scant 15 days they were given last year.

Last year, final round voting began on Dec. 7 and closed on Dec. 21. This year, final-round voting begins on Dec. 13 and extends all the way to Jan. 9. As a result, members can take some time over the holidays to do their due diligence.

This year's timetable also puts the close of voting closer to the telecast airdate—though still not close enough.

This year, final-round voting will close a month and a day before the Grammy telecast. Last year, final-round voting closed a month and a week before the telecast. The improvement is welcome, but the Grammys can and should do better in this area. The Oscar telecast airs just five days after the close of voting. Why do the Grammys need so much more time to count the votes than the granddaddy of all award shows? There are more Grammy categories than Oscar categories (84 vs. 24), but in a computer age that shouldn't matter. This coming year, Oscar final-round voting is set to end Tuesday, Feb 19. The show will air Sunday, Feb. 24.

If the Oscars can get it done, the Grammys should get it done. The Recording Academy has done much to professionalize its operation in recent years. Here's a major enhancement just waiting to be made.

There are two main advantages to pushing voting closer to the show date. First, it makes the voting more timely. It's not a portrait of how voters felt a month ago. It's a portrait of how they feel now. Second, voting would almost certainly increase because more members would be reminded that we're in Grammy season as they read articles, talk to friends and colleagues about the show, maybe even start to see TV promos.

Oscar buzz is deafening five days before the telecast. The Grammys aren't the Oscars (except maybe to me), but there is considerable attention being paid to them as the show date approaches. The Grammys should make that attention work for them. Right now, they're not. They're wasting it, as the sealed envelopes sit locked in an accountant's office.

Here are the details.

This year, first-round voting begins Oct. 17 at 9am PDT and closes on Oct. 31 at 6pm PDT. (Last year, first-round voting ran from Oct. 16 to Oct. 29.)

This year, final-round voting begins Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. PST and closes on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. PST. (Last year, final-round voting ran from Dec. 7 to Dec. 21.)

This year, the telecast airs on Feb. 10. Last year, it aired on Jan. 28.

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