The Grammys recently announced the addition of 5 new categories that include and will be judged on the following criteria.
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 predominantly 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.
Best Spoken Word Poetry Album: An album category that recognizes excellence in spoken word albums specific to the performance of poetry with or without music.
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, peace building, and empathy.
This will bring the total number of Grammy award categories up to 91, which is the most that have been awarded since 2010. It's very important to give recognition to those involved in creating the music that captures audiences around the world, which is why it's so exciting to see an award specifically for songwriters as this is apart of the industry that has been long overlooked. Perhaps this is just because the majority of the public don't understand the inner workings of production and how many people are actually involved in making a hit record, but the Grammys has finally started to list credits for engineers, mixers, songwriters, mastering engineers and more along with the artist for winning records, but there is still little consistency on this as some albums such as Kanye's Donda list over 150 people in the credits for its nomination of album of the year, while the category for Best Rock Song had no mixing, mastering, recording or production credits listed.
In all fairness to the Grammys there needs to be more consistency in how credits for those involved in production are reported and recorded across the board, but this is going to be a slow change as different labels each have their own system and are in no hurry to adapt new ways of cataloging their metadata.
Video Games + Grammys
Another great category added that is long overdue is the addition of the category for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media. This is long overdue as soundtracks for video games are intriciate and timeconsuming to produce original soundscores.
It would be great to see even more expansion along these lines and in categories such as Score Soundtrack for Visual Media as creating scores and sync music is a growing part of the music industry and deserves more recognition from the Grammys.
More. Production. Recognition.
What we really want to see from the Grammy's though is more recognition for producers, mixing, and mastering engineers. Sure its great they're starting to list some of their credits but when are they going to create their own category for mixing and mastering engineers thats not simply grouped into Producer of the year? If they can already have a category for the Best Immersive album, surely they can add a category for the best mixing engineer, right? Or can that not happen since Apple isn't investing millions into mixing engineers but spatial audio instead?
Unfortunately there is no simple solution to the recognition problem, and it is highly unlikely to see a sweeping change across the industry as there's just too many parts. However, that doesn't mean we should forget about this and move on. Things that can be done to help push back can include:
- Make sure you give artists credits for you and assistant engineers for distribution
- Talk to your local chapter representative for the Grammys
- Keep raising awareness through social media
- Be a decent human being and give credit to people when they deserve it