Grammys Add New Awards: Songwriter of the Year, Music for Social Change

The Recording Academy has announced several new awards and rule changes for the Grammy Awards, including Songwriter of the Year (Non-Classical), along with Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media, and a Special Merit Award for Best Song for Social Change. Other changes include changes to the Grammy’s submission and voting processes – including a rule that increases the new minimum content for album eligibility from 50% to 75%. All updates are effective immediately for the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, which takes place in 2023.

Details of the rule changes are expected to be posted on grammy.com later in the day, but sources say Variety that the Composer category is limited to non-performing and non-producing composers, that is, those who are credited only as composers or co-composers.

While the Composer of the Year award is long overdue, other changes reflect the Academy’s new and faster response to requests for change from the music community. The increase in the percentage of new content for album eligibility is likely in response to a recent trend of albums squeezing another year of eligibility with “bonus editions” that added live or B-level material to push the release up to 50% off. new content.

“We are very excited to honor these diverse communities of music creators through the newly established awards and changes and continue to cultivate an environment that inspires change, progress and collaboration,” said Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. “The Academy’s top priority is to effectively represent the music people we serve, and each year, that means listening to our members and ensuring our rules and guidelines reflect our ever-evolving industry.” Look for Variety’s interview with Mason about the changes, published later today.

According to the announcement, the new categories include:

Composer of the Year, Non-Classical
It recognizes writing excellence, the profession and the art of songwriting, honoring the most prolific composers who are not performing and those not producing for their body of new work released during an eligibility year.

Best Alternative Music Performance
A single track and category that recognizes the best recordings in an alternate performance by a solo artist, collaborating artists, established duo or established group.

Best American Performance
A unique track and category that recognizes artistic excellence in an American performance by a solo artist, collaborating artists, established duo or established group.

Best Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media
Recognizes excellence in soundtrack albums composed predominantly of original scores and created specifically for, or in addition to, a current video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.

Best Spoken Poetry Album
An album category that recognizes excellence in spoken word albums specific to the performance of poetry with or without music.

Special Merit Award Addition:

Best Song for Social Change
This Special Merit Award will be determined by a blue ribbon committee and ratified by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees. Entries must contain lyrical content that addresses a timely social issue and promotes understanding, peacebuilding and empathy.

Grammy voting procedure updates:

Collection of fees for registrations
All Recording Academy members will receive five complimentary tickets each year. For additional registrations, members will pay $40 (advance entry fee); $75 (Standard Fee); or $125 (deadline fee) per additional entry. Registered media companies will pay a $65 fee (advance fee); $95 (Standard Fee); or $125 (deadline fee) per entry. Considerations will be made for artists/members experiencing financial difficulties. Any member who would be burdened by entry fees may request that the fees be waived by contacting the Recording Academy Awards Department.

Album eligibility*
To be eligible for Grammy consideration, an album must contain more than 75% of the playing time of newly recorded recordings (within five years of the release date), previously unreleased recordings*. The previous eligibility rule was 50%. (Note: 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 have not been recorded recently.)

*Note: The updated Album Eligibility Rule was passed in 2021, but will take effect at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards Cycle.

Additional category changes:

Classic Field: Creation of Craft Committees in Selected Classic Categories
Three categories within the Classical Field will now be determined by highly specialized Craft Committees: Producer of the Year (Classical), Best Album Edition (Classical) and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Classical Area: Recognition of Composers and Librettists in the Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Compendium categories
Category definitions have been updated to reward composers and librettists as well as artists, producers and engineers.

New Age Field, Environment or Corner: Field Name and Category Renamed and Redefined
The category formerly known as “Best New Age Album” has been renamed to “Best New Age, Ambient or Singing Album” and the field name has also been updated to reflect this change.

Musical Theater Field: Recognition of Composers and Lyricists in the Best Musical Theater Album category
The category definition has been updated to award composers and lyricists with more than 50% of the score for a new recording.

Music for the Visual Media Field (includes movies, TV, video games and other visual media): Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Some language in the criteria for this category that had been removed has now been restored to recognize top artists and studio producers.

Production Field: Updated Best Remixed Recording Category Definition
The newly amended definition of the Best Remixed Recording Category helps reflect the craft of remixing as it currently stands in the industry: the creation of a new, full-track single performance created by a remixer of a previously released recording.

Spoken word field: Category name and definition updated
The category formerly known as Spoken Word Album has been renamed to Best Audio Book, Narration and Story Recording. This category recognizes excellence in spoken word albums (not including Spoken Word Poetry).

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