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The Recording Academy Announces Big Changes: What Does It Mean for Pop and Dance Categories?

The Recording Academy's President/CEO Neil Portnow

In an effort to continuously evolve its GRAMMY Awards process, The Recording Academy announced a drastic overhaul of its awards categories and voting procedure today.

As an official blogger for GRAMMY.com I was glued to the screen earlier today to watch the live press conference and learn about the new GRAMMY Awards.

The changes announced today ensure The GRAMMYs' leadership and prestige as the biggest, peer-recognized award in music. It is important to point out that The GRAMMY's are not based on fan popularity or record sales, but peer recognition and voting.

Over the past five decades, The Recording Academy has added many categories to its line up of nominations to reflect the changes in music. As a result, The GRAMMYs currently features 109 Categories. Most of those categories are featured in the pre-telecast ceremony on GRAMMY Sunday, while only a handful of categories are featured on the live CBS telecast.

After very close review and years of discussion, The Recording Academy concluded that the GRAMMYs had turned into a "collage" of categories without one single guiding vision and that a restructing was needed to promote "unity" across all Categories.

So what is changing? The Recording Academy announced today that it has restructured the GRAMMY Categories across all genres and Fields, bringing the total number of Categories to be recognized at the 54th GRAMMY Awards in 2012, to 78 (from 109). All Fields remain the same. Additionally, a minimum of 40 distinct artist entries will be required in each Category (up from 25) to ensure these Categories will continue to be recognized.

Read more about the GRAMMY changes and what this means to our beloved Pop and Dance categories after the break.

What happens to the pop categories?
The pop categories have gone from seven to four categories. Most noteably, there are no longer separate categories for male and female performers. Also, the pop instrumental categories have been folded into the four new categories.

The new pop categories are "Best Pop Solo Performance," "Best Pop Duo/Group Performance," "Best Pop Instrumental Performance" and "Best Pop Vocal Performance." More efficient and totally fair I think.

What happens to the dance categories?
Good news! For a moment during the press conference, I was afraid the GRAMMYs would slim the current two categories down to one, but there is no major shake up in this category. There's a slight name change in one of the categories to create a shift in emphasis.

The new Dance categories are "Best Dance Recording" and "Best Dance/Electronic Album" (was "Best Electronic/Dance Album) 

Will my favorite artist finally be nominated and win?
The Recording Academy will continue to use a very thorough process when it comes to nominating and voting in each category.

It is important to note that The GRAMMYs are not a popularity contest or influenced by record sales. The GRAMMYs are unique compared to other awards shows as it highlights "artistic merit" that is voted upon by fellow artists and musicians. This will not change. 

However, the way Academy voters will vote for their favorites will change. Previously, voters could only vote for a limited number of genres. Moving forward, however, Academy members can vote for 20 categories across all genres, plus the four main categories ("Album of the Year," "Record of the Year," "Song of the Year" and "Best New Artist") in the two rounds of voting. This is an important change that will allow Academy voters to choose more of their favorites across more genres.

Curious to learn more? Click here to check out a very cool new Interactive Category Mapper to learn about all of the new categories. 

April 6, 2011 in GRAMMY Awards | Permalink