Grammy Awards Move To Online Voting, Will Recognize Songwriters In Album Of The Year Category

For the first time, voting members of The Recording Academy will cast their Grammy Awards votes online rather than by paper ballot, according to new rules and regulations established by The Recording Academy. The move will allow greater access and flexibility for the Recording Academy’s 13,000 voting members, including touring artists. The move helps eliminate the possibility of invalid ballots, and protects against fraudulent voting. All voting members in good standing are eligible to vote online in both rounds for the 60th annual Grammy Awards.

“As an Academy, it’s imperative that we continue to meet the needs of music creators everywhere, and this year’s transition to online voting is an enormous step forward in the evolution of our voting process,” said Bill Freimuth, Senior Vice President of Awards for the Recording Academy. “We work diligently to ensure we’re keeping up with our ever-changing industry and team up with music people year round, across all genres and disciplines, to make sure we are doing everything we can to support the creative community.”

The move is one of several following the Academy’s annual review of all proposed amendments, which are voted on and ratified at the Recording Academy’s semiannual Board of Trustees meeting held in May.

Additionally, all music creators, including songwriters, producers, mixers, mastering engineers and featured artists credited with at least 33 percent or more playing time on the winning album will be eligible to receive a Grammy in the Album of the Year category. Songwriters were not previously recognized in this category.

Additional changes for the upcoming 60th annual Grammy Awards are as follows:

Nominations Review Committees Established For Rap, Contemporary Instrumental, And New Age Fields
Beginning this year, Nominations Review Committees will be created and implemented for the Rap, Contemporary Instrumental, and New Age Fields. A Nominations Review process was established in 1989 as an additional round of checks and balances to eliminate the potential for a popularity bias that puts emerging artists, independent music, and late-year releases at a disadvantage. Since then, Nominations Review Committees have been established across 15 awards fields.

Album Definition Expanded To Allow For More Inclusion In Classical, Dance, And Jazz Fields
To be eligible for GRAMMY® consideration, an album must comprise a minimum total playing time of 15 minutes with at least five distinct tracks or a minimum total playing time of 30 minutes with no minimum track requirement. Prior to this amended album definition, the only delineation was 15 minutes and five tracks. The definition expansion allows for greater inclusion of music creators who produce longer pieces, particularly in the Classical, Dance, and Jazz Fields.

Amendments To The Music For Visual Media Field
As a general rule, only one version of a track is permitted for entry in the GRAMMY Awards process. Moving forward, an exception will be made in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category, allowing the film version of a track to be entered in the category, even if a different version of the track is submitted in other categories.

In the Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media category, eligibility guidelines have been amended to require soundtrack albums for a documentary or biopic to contain 51 percent or more of newly recorded music.

Additional amendments were made to the Technical GRAMMY Award qualifications, and procedural updates were made to Nominations Review Committees. For information on the GRAMMY Awards process, visit

The 60th annual Grammy Awards will take place Jan. 28, 2018 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.


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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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