The Recording Academy is making changes to several Grammy Awards categories, including the often-debated best new artist title, and having nomination review committee members sign disclosure forms to prevent conflicts of interest.
The new rules announced Wednesday will affect the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, which will air live on Jan. 31, 2021.
The best new artist award has been criticized for decades, and the academy has tried to evolve with the ever-changing music industry by continually updating the category’s rules. In recent years, the award has been scrutinized because the academy placed a song and album limit, disqualifying certain performers. But the new rules say, “there is no longer a specified maximum number of releases prohibiting artists from entering” the category.
The change will benefit younger artists, specifically rappers, who tend to release many singles and therefore did not qualify in recent years because they surpassed the 30-song limit. Whitney Houston and Lady Gaga missed out on being best new artist nominees because of the category’s rules in the years they marked their breakthroughs.
The academy also said musicians invited to participate in a nomination review committee will have to agree to the terms of a conflict of interest disclosure form. Committee participants will have to reveal if they would benefit from an artist’s nomination for that category, whether the ties are financial, familial or creative. If a conflict is discovered, that person would not be allowed to sit on that committee that year.
The academy’s board of trustees approved the new changes last month. The organization also said it is making its 66-page rules and guidelines book public for the first time, at Grammys.com.