Outgoing Recording Academy President Neil Portnow announced this morning that the number of Grammy nominees in its the ceremony's four most prestigious categories—Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist—will increase from five to eight. The change will come into effect at the 61st Grammy Awards show next year.
The move comes six weeks after the Grammys initiated a task force—headed up by Tina Tchen, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama—to look into biases against women in the music industry.
"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, who will step down from his position next summer, said in a statement. "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."
What this means in practice is harder to discern. If the Academy's solution to its deep-rooted lack of diversity is merely to expand the number of nominees for its biggest awards, this seems like an ass-backwards idea. (You know how there's not enough diversity in Congress? Ever thought of adding more Congresspeople? No? Right.) Also, if all eight Album of the Year nominees are going to get a song and dance to themselves during the ceremony, Noisey Staff Writers are going to be 37.5% more stressed one Sunday night each February. And if anyone can remember the five songs nominated for Record of the Year at last year's awards without using Google, I'll send them a handful of sour candies from the VICE kitchen.
Hopefully they have more planned to address the systemic issues that make the Grammys such a slog every year. Hopefully I will start running seven miles every day, drinking lots of water, and responding to emails in a more prompt fashion as well.
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