The Recording Academy updated its rules for the Grammy for album of the year, giving more producers and songwriters a chance to win the top award.
The academy announced Wednesday that any producer, songwriter, engineer or artist who has worked on an album nominated for Album of the Year will also receive a nomination, even if they co-wrote a single song on a 10 project. Prior to the change, songwriters or producers At least 33% of the album had to be credited to be eligible for a nomination, a rule implemented in 2017.
The new change reflects how the Grammys handled album of the year prior to 2017, when producers, engineers or artists would get an album of the year nomination even if they worked on just one song. Composers were not included at the time; were added when the change was introduced in 2017.
Now that all the composers of an album can get a nomination, the academy can expect a greater number of nominees for each of the eight albums competing for the album of the year award. For example, if Justin Bieber’s “Justice” is nominated in 2022, more than 50 creators will be nominated for that project. If Ariana Grande’s “Positions” receives a mention, more than 35 people would be nominated. “The Off-Season” by J. Cole or “The last tour of the world” by Bad Bunny would give more than 20 participants a nomination for album of the year.
That contrasts with productions like Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” which includes songs written by the young star and her brother Finneas, who also produces all of her tracks. Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour,” which is expected to debut at No. 1 next week, also boasts a small pool of contributors who wouldn’t hit double digits like Bieber’s or Grande’s albums. That distinction of using fewer contributors could benefit Eilish and Rodrigo at the Grammys, and it raises a question: Would voters prefer to award 50 people per album of the year or eight?
The change largely affects rap, R&B and some pop albums, where songwriters and producers tend to vary throughout the project, as opposed to rock and country albums, which involve fewer creators. While the change gives rap and R&B producers and songwriters a better chance of earning a Grammy nomination, the chance of winning the award seems less likely.
The change is especially great since contemporary songs have a large number of composers. The top 10 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart this week include Bieber’s “Peaches,” a hit written by 10 songwriters; nine writers are credited for “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat and SZA; and The Weeknd and Grande’s “Save Your Tears” was written by six writers. Other songs in the Top 10 have fewer writers: Rodrigo and Daniel Nigro wrote “Good 4 U,” currently at No. 1 on the chart, and J. Cole is the only writer behind “Amari,” in fifth place.
The announcement comes a month after the academy voted to eliminate its nomination review committees, anonymous groups that determined key award nominees at the Grammys.
For the 2022 Grammys, songs and albums released between September 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 will be eligible.
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Grammys change rules for album of the year award