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Changes Announced to GRAMMY Awards; Samples Now Allowed in All Songwriting Categories

Changes Announced to GRAMMY Awards; Samples Now Allowed in All Songwriting Categories

As part of its recent annual spring Board of Trustees meeting, The Recording Academy's Trustees approved a number of changes to the GRAMMY Awards process, including: allowing samples or interpolations of previously written songs in all songwriting categories, including Song Of The Year; establishing a new category for Best American Roots Performance in the American Roots Music Field; changing the name of the Dance/Electronica Field and album category to Dance/Electronic Music Field and Best Dance/Electronic Album; restructuring the categories of the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field; renaming Best Pop Instrumental Album as Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, establishing a new Contemporary Instrumental Music Field, and moving Best Traditional Pop Album into the Pop Field; changing Best Classical Vocal Solo (album or tracks) to Best Classical Solo Vocal Album (albums only); and renaming and remaking the Best Instrumental Arrangement and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals categories as Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella and Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals, respectively, such that vocal arrangers/arrangements are eligible to compete. In addition, a more official guideline has been established for the Alternative Music Field. The total number of GRAMMY categories that will be recognized at the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 8, 2015, is 83. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

"The Academy's Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its passionate commitment to keeping The Recording Academy a relevant and responsive organization in our dynamic music community," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "This year's changes to our Awards process are thoughtful, inclusive, and reflective of the current musical landscape, and we look forward to implementing them for the upcoming 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards."

Awards

To ensure the GRAMMY Awards process remains fluid and responsive, The Academy's Trustees have approved the following changes recommended by the Awards & Nominations (A&N) Committee:

*Samples or interpolations of previously written songs are now allowed in all songwriting categories: Song Of The Year, Best Rock Song, Best R&B Song, Best Country Song, Best Gospel Song, Best Contemporary Christian Music Song, Best American Roots Song, and Best Song Written For Visual Media. Previously, samples or interpolations were allowed in only one songwriting category: Best Rap Song, in recognition of the unique craft of writing rap songs.

*Best American Roots Performance has been added to the American Roots Music Field. An artist's award, it will encompass all of the subgenres of the Field (Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk, regional roots music), and recognizes singles/tracks only as well as solo artists/duos/groups/collaborations. This puts the Field in line with the Pop, Rock, Rap, R&B, Country, and Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Fields, all of which have performance categories.

*The name of the Dance/Electronica Field and Best Dance/Electronica Album category now change to Dance/Electronic Field and Best Dance/Electronic Album. The committees for this Field agreed that the title for this genre has evolved, and updating it more accurately represents the industry nomenclature of today.

*The categories of the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field have been restructured as follows:

Previous Category Structure

  • Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
  • Best Gospel Song
  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
  • Best Gospel Album
  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

New Category Structure

  • Best Gospel Performance/Song
  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
  • Best Gospel Album
  • Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
  • Best Roots Gospel Album

The same number of categories remains in the Field (five), and now both the artist(s) and songwriter(s) of new material will be honored in the Best Gospel Performance/Song and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song categories. Changes to the Field were made in the interest of clarifying the criteria, representing the current culture and creative DNA of the gospel and Contemporary Christian Music communities, and better reflecting the diversity and authenticity of today's gospel music industry, including:

  • Place the growing and increasingly popular rap and hip-hop music into the contemporary category where the industry and fans feel it belongs
  • Provide a category for traditional Southern gospel and other "roots" gospel albums as both a protector of the heritage of this music and an acknowledgement of the growing interest and support of these genres
  • Recognize the critical contribution of both songwriters and performers by combining songwriters and artists into the Best Gospel Performance/Song and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song categories
  • Appropriately integrate artists, songwriters, albums and songs along creative and aesthetic lines.

*Best Pop Instrumental Album has been renamed Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, a new Contemporary Instrumental Music Field has been established, and Best Traditional Pop Album now moves into the Pop Field. This new Field and category name will allow a broader umbrella for instrumental music than the former Best Pop Instrumental Album category and creates a more appropriate home and award for excellence in instrumental performance. In reviewing recent submissions, nominations and wins in this category, most projects are better categorized as "contemporary" music than "pop" music. Categorizing this award in a separate Field puts the emphasis on instrumental music, which provides for better representation of this particular craft, and allows for a more broadly defined category that can encompass all contemporary instrumental music without deference to a particular genre.

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