Music

The Grammy Awards Add New Categories Honoring Songwriters, Video Game Music, Social Change, And More

The Recording Academy has announced several new categories which will be awarded at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards in 2023, as reported by Variety. Among these new categories are Songwriter Of The Year, Best Americana Performance, and Best Song For Social Change. Additionally, in order for an album to qualify as a new release, it must contain 75 percent new recordings, upped from the previous 50 percent rule.

Another new category is the Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media. This addition comes after a new arrangement of “Meta Knight’s Revenge,” a song originally from the 1996 Super Nintendo game Kirby Super Star, won the award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella at this year’s ceremony, marking a rare Grammy win for video game music.

“We’re so excited to honor these diverse communities of music creators through the newly established awards and amendments, and to continue cultivating an environment that inspires change, progress, and collaboration,” said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. in a statement. “The Academy’s top priority is to effectively represent the music people that we serve, and each year, that entails listening to our members, and ensuring our rules and guidelines reflect our ever-evolving industry.”

Per The Recording Academy, the new categories and rules are as follows:

Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical
Recognizes the written excellence, profession, and art of songwriting honoring the most prolific non-performing and non-producing songwriters for their body of new work released during an eligibility year.

Best Alternative Music Performance
A track and single category that recognizes the best recordings in an alternative performance by a solo artist, collaborating artists, established duo, or established group.

Best Americana Performance
A track and single Category that recognizes artistic excellence in an Americana performance by a solo artist, collaborating artists, established duo, or established group.

Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media
Recognizes excellence in score soundtrack albums comprised predominately of original scores and created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.

Special Merit Award Addition:

Best Song For Social Change
This Special Merit Award will be determined by a blue-ribbon committee and ratified by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees. Submissions must contain lyrical content that addresses a timely social issue and promotes understanding, peacebuilding, and empathy.

Grammy Award Voting Procedural Updates:

Charging Fees For Entry Submissions
All Recording Academy members will receive five courtesy entries every year. For additional entries, members will pay $40 (Early Bird Fee); $75 (Standard Fee); or $125 (Final Deadline Fee) per additional entry. Registered media companies will pay a fee of $65 (Early Bird Fee); $95 (Standard Fee); or $125 (Final Deadline Fee) for per entry. Considerations will be made for artists/members experiencing financial hardships. Any member who would be burdened by the entry fees can request the fees be waived by reaching out to the Recording Academy Awards Department.

Album Eligibility*
To be eligible for Grammy Award consideration, an album must contain greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded (within five years of the release date), previously unreleased recordings*. The previous eligibility rule was 50%. (Note: Best Compilation Soundtrack, Best Historical Album, Best Immersive Audio Album, Best Recording Package, Best Special Package, and Best Album Notes accept albums of recordings that are not newly recorded.)

*Note: The updated album eligibility rule was approved in 2021 but is going into effect for the 65th annual Grammy Awards cycle.

Additional category amendments:

Classical Field: Creation Of Craft Committees In Select Classical Categories
Three Categories within the Classical Field will now be determined by highly specialized Craft Committees: Producer of the Year (Classical), Best Engineered Album (Classical) and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Classical Field: Recognition Of Composers And Librettists In Best Opera Recording And Best Classical Compendium Categories
Category definitions have been updated to award composers and librettists in addition to artists, producers and engineers.

New Age, Ambient Or Chant Field: Renamed And Redefined Field And Category Name
The category formerly known as “Best New Age Album” has been renamed “Best New Age, Ambient Or Chant Album” and the Field name has also been updated to reflect that change.

Musical Theater Field: Recognition Of Composers And Lyricists In Best Musical Theater Album Category
Category definition has been updated to award composers and lyricists of more than 50% of the score of a new recording.

Music For Visual Media Field (Includes Film, TV, Video Games, And Other Visual Media): Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Some language in the criteria for this category that had been removed has now been restored to recognize principal artists and in-studio producers.

Production Field: Updated Definition Of Best Remixed Recording Category
The newly amended definition of the Best Remixed Recording Category helps to reflect the remix craft as it currently stands in the industry: the creation of a new, full-track, unique performance created by a remixer from a previously released recording.

Spoken Word Field: Updated Category Name And Definition
The category formally known as Spoken Word Album has been renamed Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording. This category recognizes excellence in spoken word albums (not including Spoken Word Poetry).

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