Some big changes are in store for the Grammys.
Per Billboard, the Recording Academy has voted to expand the number of eligible nominees in its four main categories — Record, Song, and Album of the Year and Best New Artist — from five to eight.
In a statement, Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow said the expansion will provide “more flexibility to our voters when having to make the often challenging decisions about representing excellence and the best in music for the year.”
“Throughout the year, we team up with music people across all genres and disciplines to consider revisions and subsequently make amendments to our rules and entry guidelines to ensure we’re keeping up with our ever-changing industry and meeting the needs of music creators,” Portnow said. “This creates more opportunities for a wider-range of recognition in these important categories and gives more flexibility to our voters when having to make the often challenging decisions about representing excellence and the best in music for the year. We look forward to celebrating all of our nominees when they are announced later this year.”
While not specifically mentioned, the move is likely also a response to criticism over the lack of female winners in 2018. In the four major categories, only Alessia Cara claimed victory as Best New Artist, while many of the genre-specific categories were awarded to male nominees such as Ed Sheeran. What’s more, Lorde was the only Best Album nominee to not be offered a solo performance slot.
In response, Portnow said the onus was on women to “step up.” Not surprisingly, his comments were met with immense criticism, leading Portnow to announce that he would be stepping down as president in 2019. The Recording Academy also established an independent task force “to review every aspect of what we do as an organization and identify where we can more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community.”