Recording Academy Announces Rule Changes For Album Of The Year & Vote Manipulation

Most of the changes go into effect for the 64th Grammy Awards in 2022.

The Recording Academy has faced substantial backlash for various reasons. Almost every year the organization’s Grammy Award nominations and eventual winners are met with raised eyebrows and side-eyes.

Controversies like Hip Hop fans being upset over Kendrick Lamar losing to Macklemore, former Academy president Neil Portnow suggesting women in the industry need to “step up,” and global hitmaker The Weeknd being completely snubbed for the 63rd Annual ceremony were major public relation misfires.

As a result of those past issues and other complaints, The Recording Academy continues to address the diversity in its membership and modify its policies. For example, new changes to the Grammy Awards Rules and Guidelines were announced today.

“Our peer-driven awards process is all about engagement, and nothing is more invigorating than seeing our members take part in submitting proposals to move the Academy forward,” said Harvey Mason Jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy.

Mason Jr. continued, “We’re proud to work alongside today’s music creators to ensure their vision for the music industry is reflected in all that we do, and to continue our commitment to transparency by making these updates readily available to anyone that wishes to submit their art for Grammy recognition. These updates are a direct result of our collaborative process, and we’re thankful for the music community’s continued support every step of the way.”

The most significant rule amendment is related to the Album Of The Year category. The Recording Academy approved the following changes to the AOTY nominee and recipient eligibility:

Moving forward, all credited artists (including featured artists), songwriters of new material, producers, recording engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers are eligible to be GRAMMY nominees and recipients in the Album Of The Year category. Previously, the rule stated that all artists, songwriters, producers, recording engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers were required to be credited with at least 33 percent or more of playing time.

In addition, new rules for album eligibility include:

To be eligible for GRAMMY Award consideration, an album must contain greater than 75 percent playing time of newly recorded (within five years of the release date), previously unreleased recordings. The current eligibility rule is 50 percent. (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 are not newly recorded.)

The Recording Academy also made adjustments to the Classical Field, Music For Visual Media Field, and Music Film Field. A second Technical Grammy Award was added which is specifically reserved for a company, organization, or institution.

In addition, Academy members or their designated publicists are now restricted to FYC emails, social media posts, and physical mailings that promote only their own recordings. They can no longer lobby on behalf of other members under the new “Vote Trading And Manipulation” guidelines.