ENTERTAINMENT

Grammy Organizers End Controversial 'Secret Committees' For Nominations

The Recording Academy has long faced accusations that its process to determine a majority of nominees has not been transparent.

The Recording Academy announced on Friday that it has eliminated its controversial Grammy nomination review committees, often chided as “secret committees,” among a list of other changes.

The Academy revealed that nominations would now be determined by a peer-to-peer vote by its entire voting membership body. Previously, nominations for a majority of the Grammy categories, including genre and general fields (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist), were determined by a group of 15 to 30 music industry voters, whose identities were kept anonymous.

The move follows years of criticism over the Grammy nomination process that was renewed in March, when The Weeknd announced his vow to boycott future awards shows after he didn’t score a single nod for the 2021 ceremony. His song “Blinding Lights” made history this year, becoming the first song to ever spend a year on the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10, the publication announced.

“Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” the singer, who has three Grammys from previous years, told The New York Times.

Zayn Malik aired similar grievances that month, calling out the Grammys for a “lack of transparency of the nomination process” amid a series of tweets criticizing the Academy.

The Grammy Awards have long faced criticism and accusations of racism, including charges that even when Black artists are nominated, they have historically been snubbed out of awards.

Last year Nicki Minaj notably called out the Grammys by reminding fans that she did not win the Best New Artist award in 2012 despite coming off a string of hits. Beyoncé fans were similarly floored that she did not win Album of the Year for “Lemonade” in 2017.

John Legend told Entertainment Weekly last year that he thought it was “almost impossible for a Black artist to win Album of the Year.” The last Black artist to do so was Herbie Hancock in 2007.

In addition to the elimination of the nominations review committee, the Academy announced that over 90% of its members will go through a “requalification process” to ensure the “voting body is actively engaged in music creation.” (Some nomination committees, called “craft committees,” will remain in place for newly consolidated categories “Package, Notes & Historical Field” and “Production Field.”)

The Recording Academy announced other changes, including a reduction in the number of categories a voting member can vote in, and an addition of two new categories: Best Global Music Performance (Global Music Field) and Best Música Urbana Album (Latin Music Field).

“This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community,” Harvey Mason Jr., Recording Academy chair and interim president-CEO said in a statement.

The new changes go in effect immediately and will be reflected in the 2022 Grammy Awards show next January.