×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Grammys Expand Major Category Nominations From Five to Eight

UPDATED: The Recording Academy announced several changes to its awards process, most notably that the number of nominations for the “General Field” categories — record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, and best new artist — will increase from five to eight.

According to the announcement, sent to Academy members Tuesday morning, “This change will better reflect the large number of entries in these categories and allow voters greater flexibility when selecting this year’s best recordings.”

The decision is also likely a reflection of the uproar over the low number of female nominees and winners for the 2018 awards, although with Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, Khalid, SZA and Jay-Z producer No I.D. leading, those nominations were otherwise possibly the most musically and racially diverse in the Academy’s history. However, the winners’ list did not reflect the wider variety of nominees — Mars swept Best Album, Song and Record — and in some categories it seems likely that votes were split between Jay-Z and Lamar, arguably the world’s two most popular rappers.

Contacted by Variety, Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman Martin Bandier said, “I think the expansion of the nominations is a great thing. There is such a wide diversity of music today and narrowing it down to only five in a major category is not inclusive enough. This is much better for the industry and I’m happy to see this change. It gives more talented people a shot and gives voters a bigger spectrum to choose from. I predict there will be some very interesting events as a result.”

At press time, heads of the three major-label groups, the American Association of Independent Labels and the RIAA had either declined or not responded to Variety‘s requests for comment.

In other changes, music supervisors will be considered nominees in the Best Compilation Soundtrack Album category (although they will no longer be eligible for consideration as album producers, unless they produced at least 51 percent of the album in question), and nominations for the World Music Field will now be determined through its own Nominations Review Committee. A number of category definition updates and clarifications were also announced and can be found in full here.

Unlike a similar nominee expansion by the Academy Awards, which in 2009 grew its best picture nominees from five to 10, the Grammy move seems less motivated by ratings. It also lessens the chances that all eight nominees will perform during the show; earlier this year the sole female Best Album nominee, Lorde, did not perform on the show after a disagreement with Grammy producers, which increased the criticism directed at the Academy for low female representation. In the weeks following the show, the Academy and its chief Neil Portnow, who told a Variety reporter that female artists and executives needed to “step up” in order to receive greater recognition, underwent a firestorm of criticism that resulted in three open letters calling for change in the organization and the formation of a task force for greater diversity headed by former Obama administration chief of staff Tina Tchen. The controversy also may have contributed to Portnow’s decision to step down from his post next year.

More Music

  • Prince Death

    Prince’s ‘Batman' at 30: How the Film Saved His Career From ‘Horrible’ Financial Straits

    As the movie that ushered in both the modern-day superhero genre and a new peak in the art of saturation marketing, Tim Burton’s “Batman” has a legacy that’s hard to overstate. Virtually everything associated with the 1989 comic-book adaptation became a cultural phenomenon, from Burton’s mischievous, mainstream-goth aesthetic to the meta-narrative of the film’s record-breaking [...]

  • Mary J. Blige and Rihanna

    Rihanna Presents Mary J. Blige With BET Lifetime Achievement Award

    Rihanna took the Microsoft Theater stage on June 23 to present Mary J. Blige with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award. Hailing the legendary singer for her style and sound, Rihanna also made mention of Blige’s history-making two Oscar nominations in the same year, for best actress and original song for “Mudbound.” Accepting the trophy, Blige [...]

  • Offset, Takeoff and Quavo of MigosBET

    BET Awards' Carpet Colored Blue in Honor of Late Nipsey Hussle

    The 2019 edition of the BET Awards doubled as a celebration of late rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was killed in March outside of his Marathon clothing store in Los Angeles. In honor of the man affectionately known as “Nip,” the carpet was colored blue. “The marathon continues” was a common refrain on the carpet (as [...]

  • Cardi B accepts the album of

    BET Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List

    The 2019 BET Awards kicked off with a performance by Cardi B, who came into the night leading with 7 nominations and, not surprisingly, picked up the award for album of the year for her “Invasion of Privacy.” Other top nominees included Drake with 5, and Beyonce, Travis Scott and J. Cole, each with four. [...]

  • BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 22:

    Quality Control's Coach K Says Abortion Ban Has Already Impacted Business in Atlanta

    A who’s who of black entertainment and tech filled the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom on June 22 for the 4th annual Culture Creators Innovators and Leaders Awards brunch. Honorees included Byron Allen, who received the Icon Award; actress and executive producer Marsai Martin, who was named Innovator of the Year; and Quality Control Music founders [...]

  • Juice WRLD Talks Next Album, Streaming

    Juice WRLD Talks Next Album, Audiomack Award at Private BET Weekend Dinner

    On the Saturday evening of BET Weekend, Juice WRLD held an exclusive private dinner and celebration for his Best New Artist nomination at Sunday’s 2019 BET Awards. Presented by Audiomack and BMG, select friends and top executives from Interscope, BMG and GradeA Productions conjoined at BOA Steakhouse on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood to congratulate [...]

  • Raconteurs Salute Beatles With 'Butcher Cover'

    Raconteurs Salute Beatles With 'Butcher Cover' Parody Hidden Within New LP Sleeve

    Raconteurs fans who thought they heard a hint of the Beatles embedded within the group’s new album, “Help Us Stranger,” may have been more intuitive than they realized. There’s a more blatant homage to the Fab Four in the LP that was sent out to Third Man Vault subscribers, but it’s not in the grooves [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content