Grammys expand nominee field after criticism on diversity    

Grammys expand nominee field after criticism on diversity    

NEW YORK - AFP
Grammys expand nominee field after criticism on diversity

Bruno Mars received the second Grammy for Record of the Year during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards show held in New York this year.

The Grammys will expand the number of nominees in main categories for music's most prestigious awards as organizers try to counter a backlash over how few women and minorities are winning.

In one of the biggest changes at the Grammys in years, the Recording Academy, which administers the prizes, said June 26 in a letter to members that next year's awards will boost the field of hopefuls from five to eight for the top four categories.

The prizes are Album of the Year; Record of the Year, which recognizes overall song; Song of the Year, which honors songwriting; and Best New Artist. 

Other categories will remain at five nominees. The 2019 Grammys will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at the start of the year, though an exact date has not yet been announced.

Criticism has mounted that the Recording Academy's tastes are consistently old-fashioned, more in line with the older, mostly white male professionals who vote and out of tune with contemporary culture.

Hoping to bring more diversity, the Recording Academy made another key change in time for this year's awards by switching to online ballots, broadening its pool to itinerant musicians who are not waiting at their mailboxes.

Likely due to the reform, the 2018 Grammys for the first time saw hip-hop dominate the top categories. But the night's big winner was ultimately Bruno Mars, the party-loving funk revivalist, rather than politically aware rappers Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z or Childish Gambino.

And the latest Grammys was strikingly devoid of women, with Lorde the only nominee for Album of the Year and none earning a nod for Record of the Year, at a time that the growing #MeToo movement was raising concern about the gender biases and harassment holding back women.

The Recording Academy also announced reform of the Grammy for Best World Music Album, one of the categories that draws the most eye-rolls among aficionados.

Starting next year, a review committee will determine the five nominees out of the top 15 put forward in nominations by the Academy's 13,000 members.

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