Release of Grammy Nominations Bring Back Old Qualms With the Academy

With awards season around the corner, the release of the major award nominations for countless awards shows has arrived. The nominations list for the 65th Grammy Awards was announced Nov. 15, featuring a slew of artists who are in the running to win an award during the event Feb. 5, 2023. 

Originally called the Gramophone Awards, the Grammys first took place in 1958. The award show was created in response to two others created at the time: The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, and The Emmy Awards, which recognized leading figures in television and film. 

There are 91 awards being given out at the Grammys next year, all within different genres and styles of music. Four awards—Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Record of the Year—are the only categories that encompass any genre and are notably some of the most prestigious of the night. 

For Best New Artist, the musicians Anitta, Omar Apollo, DOMi & JD Beck, Muni Long, Samara Joy, Latto, Måneskin, Tobe Nwigwe, Molly Tuttle and Wet Leg were nominated. 

The awards for the Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year will be paid high attention this year as Adele and Beyoncé are put against one another again. They went head to head in the same category during the 2017 ceremony, resulting in Adele winning all four of the categories that she was in alongside Beyoncé, including both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. This caused a major uproar over the lack of recognition for Beyoncé’s album “Lemonade,” which made her the first female artist to have 12 tracks on the Billboard Hot 100, at the time, and was her sixth straight no. 1 album.

This specific instance is certainly not the first time that there have been frustrations surrounding the Grammys. Artists like the Weeknd, Nicki Minaj and Eminem have called out the Recording Academy, who run the Grammys, for their lack of recognition on record-breaking albums and for considerable gaps in recognizing women and people of color.

“The trust has been broken for so long between the Grammy organization and artists that it would be unwise to raise a victory flag,” said the Weeknd in an interview with Variety. 

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative took to Twitter last year with a series of posts calling out the shortage of women and people of color in the music industry. Pulling from nine years worth of data, the Inclusion in the Recording Studio study found that 12.6 percent of songwriters across 900 songs were women and that the amount of female songwriters of color declined from the last year.

The frustration with the Grammys and the Recording Academy could in large part be due to the process of nominations and voting. To be considered for a Grammy nomination, a recording must be entered by members of the Recording Academy who are either Professional or Voting members. Media companies like record labels and distribution companies, however, can also register as members of the Academy and submit recordings for consideration.

TikTok has also been a major influence on music and music awards this year, especially in the Best New Artist category. In this year’s nominations, the song “abcdefu” by Sara Davis, GAYLE and Dave Pittenger, which is extremely popular on TikTok, was nominated for Song of the Year. Some say the nomination is undeserved when propped up against artists like Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Adele and Bonnie Rait. It’s especially curious that GAYLE was nominated for a Grammy considering that she is primarily popular for this song, with it and remixes of it taking up the top four spots of her most popular tracks on Spotify

The rise in artists who gained popularity from TikTok being nominated might also, in part, be due to the steady decline in viewership that the Grammos and other awards have experienced these last few years, with newer artists and those listened to by younger demographics being pushed to the front of award seasons to garner more views. The Oscars, for example, experienced a 56 percent drop in 2021 from the 23.6 million viewers that turned on their TVs for the program in 2020. 

While many people have stopped watching the actual awards programs, the red carpet looks still garner coverage. Social media sites are flooded with content concerning the looks that celebrities pull out for award shows like the Grammys. The Country Music Awards (CMAs) Nov. 9 was the most recent award show, which boasted lots of elegant red carpet looks

The 65th Grammy Awards promises entertainment, from the red carpet fashion and its subsequent flood of social media analyses to the outcomes of the many awards. Voting for the Grammys began Nov. 14 and ends Jan. 4, 2023. For more information about how to cast your vote, view the Recording Academy’s 2023 voting information.