The Grammy Awards will expand the number of nominees in its four top categories from five to eight in a bid to be more inclusive and increase gender diversity, it has announced. The news comes just a day after it was revealed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued 928 invitations to new members in an effort to be more inclusive to women and minorities.
The move, which was announced on Tuesday, will affect the categories for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist, giving voters “greater flexibility” when choosing the year’s best recordings. The changes are set to take effect immediately, with members voting on nominations this fall for the 61st annual show next year.
“Because the Grammy Awards reflect what’s happening in the ever-changing landscape of music, the Recording Academy works diligently to make sure our awards process continually evolves to meet the needs of the music community,” wrote the academy in an email to its members.
The change is the biggest under Recording Academy president Neil Portnow’s watch, and will most likely be his last. Next year’s award ceremony will be the last one in which he presides after he came under fire last year for stating that female artists needed to “step up” if they want to further their careers.
The bold declaration came after the Grammys was heavily criticized for not recognizing female artists — Alessia Cara was the only woman given a solo award (Best New Artist) during the three-and-a-half hour live telecast this year. In fact, women won only 11 of the total 84 Grammys given out at the 2018 awards. Additionally, for the prestigious Record of the Year award, no women were nominated at all — all of this in the midst of the #MeToo movement, no less.
Unfortunately, the Grammys have a long history of boxing out women — a University of Southern California study released last year reports that more than 90% of Grammy nominees from 2013 to 2018 were male. Hopefully, this all changes with the new rule.