The Grammys Ditch Controversial Anonymous Nominating Committees

Peaceful protestor Abel Tesfaye. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TW

The Grammys governing body voted to eliminate the use of anonymous expert committees on Friday, a process that has longed spurred controversy. The anonymous committees, made up of music professionals, review 61 of the 84 categories, determining the nominees from selections made by the academy’s thousands of voters. Committees will no longer be used for the top four awards or genre categories, but remain for 11 “craft” categories for production, packaging, album notes, and more. The board of trustees also reduced the number of genre categories an academy member may vote on from 15 to 10 and added two new awards: Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album. Ahead of this year’s Grammys, the Weeknd announced he was boycotting the awards going forward. “Because of the secret committees,” the Weeknd told The New York Times, “I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.” He joined a loud chorus of largely Black artists in hip-hop and R&B who have been shut out of general categories, locked in genre categories, or, in the case of his record-breaking album After Hours, completely snubbed.

The legitimacy of the nominations process was called into question last year when Deborah Dugan, the academy’s former chief and first female president, accused committee members of having conflicts of interests. In one example from the legal complaint about her removal from the job, per the Times, an artist who was up for Song of the Year was allowed to sit on the committee and was further represented by a board member. Last year, the Grammys added a requirement that committee members sign disclosure forms noting connections or direct ties to nominees. These changes will take effect for next year’s 64th annual Grammy Awards on January 31, 2022. We’ll be there, but will the Weeknd?

Grammys Ditch Controversial Anonymous Nominating Committees