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THE GRAMMYS REWRITE SOME RULES

It wouldn’t be the Grammy Awards if they weren’t rewriting the rules. Looks like they’ll be doling out a lot more hardware for Album of the Year.

The Recording Academy has scrapped the 33% AOTY rule and now all credited artists (including featured artists), songwriters of new material, producers, recording engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers are eligible to be nominees and recipients in the category. In recent years, artists, songwriters, producers, recording engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers were required to be credited with at least 33% or more of playing time. (Old timers remember the tray of trophies for Concert for Bangladesh and the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.) 

The Academy is also pushing back against lobbying for votes for the 64th edition of the Grammys. “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.”

The biggest rule rewrites are in the Music For Visual Media field.

For Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media category, up to two album producers and up to two music supervisors can be awarded for albums consisting largely of pre-existing masters.

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% playing time of newly recorded material can also be awarded.

Since Billie Eilish won this year for a song in a film that had yet to be released, they’ve modified that rule, too.

There are two options for albums and tracks 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. First, the albums or tracks may be entered during the current year in categories that are not in the Music For Visual Media Field, which makes them ineligible the following year in the Music For Visual Media Field.

Second, albums or tracks may be entered the following year as long as they do not get entered in any category during the current year. Songs will also be eligible in other song categories as long as they fulfill the "track from a previous year is eligible" rule.

"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. "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."

The other changes are:

For the 65th edition of the awards, an album will be defined as a collection that contains greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded (within five years of the release date), previously unreleased recordings. The current eligibility rule is 50%. (The exceptions are 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.)

Best Dance Recording has been renamed Best Dance/Electronic Recording.

Singles that are not part of an album will now be eligible in five Classical categories: Best Orchestral Performance, Best Choral Performance, Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, Best Classical Instrumental Solo, and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Music-related documentaries must contain a minimum of 51% 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.

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.

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