Samples To Be Allowed in All Grammy Songwriting Categories

GrammysThe Recording Academy‘s Board of Trustees has approved a number of field and category changes to the Grammy Awards’ process. These changes bring the total number of Grammy categories that will be recognized at the 57th annual Grammy Awards (to be held Feb. 8, 2015) to 83 categories.

“The Academy’s Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its passionate commitment to keeping The Recording Academy a relevant and responsive organization in our dynamic music community,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “This year’s changes to our Awards process are thoughtful, inclusive, and reflective of the current musical landscape, and we look forward to implementing them for the upcoming 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards.”

Samples To Be Allowed: The Recording Academy will now allow samples or interpolations of previously written songs in all songwriting categories, including Song of the Year, Best Country Song, Best Rock Song, Best R&B Song, Best Gospel Song, Best Contemporary Christian Music Song, Best American Roots Song, and Best Song Written For Visual Media. Previously, samples or interpolations were allowed in only the songwriting category of Best Rap Song, in recognition of the unique craft of writing rap songs.

American Roots Music: A new category, Best American Roots Performance, has been added in the American Roots Music Field. The new award will encompass all of the sub-genres of the Field (Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk, regional roots music), and recognizes singles/tracks only as well as solo artists/duos/groups/collaborations. This puts the Field in line with the Pop, Rock, Rap, R&B, Country, and Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Fields, all of which have performance categories.

Dance/Electronica: The Dance/Electronica Field and album category has been changed to Dance/Electronic Music Field and Best Dance/Electronic Album.

Gospel/Contemporary Christian: The categories of the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field have been restructured as follows.

Previous Category Structure
• Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
• Best Gospel Song
• Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
• Best Gospel Album
• Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

New Category Structure
• Best Gospel Performance/Song
• Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
• Best Gospel Album
• Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
• Best Roots Gospel Album

The same number of categories remains in the Field (five), and now both the artist(s) and songwriter(s) of new material will be honored in the Best Gospel Performance/Song and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song categories. Changes to the Field were made in the interest of clarifying the criteria, representing the current culture and creative DNA of the gospel and Contemporary Christian Music communities, and better reflecting the diversity and authenticity of today’s gospel music industry, including:

• Place the growing and increasingly popular rap and hip-hop music into the contemporary category where the industry and fans feel it belongs
• Provide a category for traditional Southern gospel and other “roots” gospel albums as both a protector of the heritage of this music and an acknowledgement of the growing interest and support of these genres
• Recognize the critical contribution of both songwriters and performers by combining songwriters and artists into the Best Gospel Performance/Song and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song categories
• Appropriately integrate artists, songwriters, albums and songs along creative and aesthetic lines.

Changes were also made to Classical, Instrumental and Alternative fields. For a full list of changes, visit

The nomination process for the 57th annual Grammy Awards will be open to active Recording Academy Members on the following dates. The first round opens July 1 and closes July 23, 2014. This round is for recordings released between October 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014. The final voting round opens Aug. 13 and closes Aug. 27, 2014. This round is for August and September 2014 releases. The awards eligibility period is for recordings commercially released from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014.

Additionally, The Recording Academy Nashville Chapter presents “Grammy Awards 101,” with Bill Freimuth (Sr. VP, Awards) on July 24, 2014 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Ben’s Studio, located at 30 Music Square West, Ste. 100. The meeting will discuss important upcoming dates and deadlines, an explanation of eligibility for submitted product, how to submit product for Grammy consideration, what’s new for the 57th annual Grammy Awards, and a step-by-step narrative of what each submission goes through once it has been submitted to the awards process. Non-members are welcome. For RSVP information, visit


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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