Recording Academy President Neil Portnow says that the Grammy rule changes,… (Stefano Paltera / For The…)
When the Recording Academy consolidated last year's Grammy nominations by eliminating 31 categories in R&B, American roots music, classical, Latin, jazz, country, pop and rock fields, the changes felt out of key for some musicians.
There were grumblings, protests, petitions and a group of Latin jazz artists even filed a class action lawsuit to contest the restructuring, which brought the total number of categories down to 78 from 109.
This year, the Recording Academy has added three new categories to previously scaled back fields with the addition of awards for classical compendium, Latin jazz album and urban contemporary album.
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Recording Academy President Neil Portnow told The Times that the rule changes, announced in 2011, were critical because the number of trophies had ballooned unreasonably. Amid the controversy, he suggested that the issue would be reexamined again. The new categories were added after the academy's board of trustees met this spring.
"With the focus squarely on ensuring the awards process is pertinent within the current musical landscape, the Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its passionate commitment to keeping the Recording Academy a relevant and responsive organization in our dynamic music community," Portnow said in a statement. "Every year, we diligently examine our awards structure, including evaluating proposals, to develop an overall guiding vision and ensure that it remains a balanced and viable process, as well as maintains the prestige of the highest and only peer-recognized award in music."
The acts nominated for Grammy gold — including the new categories — will be announced Wednesday during the live CBS concert special "Grammy Nominations Concert Live: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night," at 10 p.m. Eastern time (and Pacific time, on a tape delay). The Grammy Awards will air Feb. 10.
Eligibility for the 55th Grammy awards is for recordings released between Oct. 1, 2011, and Sept. 30, 2012.
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