The Recording Academy have finally accepted it’s 2017 and have done away with paper ballots.
The 13,000 Grammy voters can now cast their votes online for the 2018 Grammy Awards.
BuzzFeed News is reporting that this option will allow eligible voters to actually listen to the songs that are nominated. “In the past, critics have charged that many voters may not be familiar with all of the songs nominated in a given category and simply choose the most recognizable name by default,” they report. Yikes.
"We hope that our nominations will better represent the entire community of music makers, especially if there's a particular segment that we've been missing," Bill Freimuth, the Recording Academy's vice president of awards, told BuzzFeed News. "There may be certain genres within our awards categories where the demographic that tends to participate in making that particular music might be more tech savvy in general, or might have more of a mobile lifestyle than certain other genres, and we think this might appeal to those folks."
Per Billboard, "another major change is the addition of songwriters to the nominees for album of the year, which was previously reserved for artists, producers and engineers. However, all participants in the album, including featured artists, songwriters, producers and engineers, must now be credited with at least 33 percent or more playing time on the album to be eligible for nomination. Prior to the new rule, all participants on an album would earn a nomination for album of the year even if they worked on one song."
There’s extra precaution surrounding how many times someone can vote and ensure it’s not a rigged system. "We want people to be voting based on the quality of the music, not how many times they've streamed it or heard it on the radio," Freimuth said.
One of the biggest criticisms from fans and artists is that it’s an outdated system. Music fans were outraged at this year’s Grammys after Adele took home the award for Album of the Year and thus blocking Beyonce. Even Adele couldn’t understand how that came to be. "What the fuck does Beyoncé have to do to win Album of the Year?,” she said in a press conference minutes later. Something similar took place when Taylor Swift's 1989 beat out Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly in 2016.
"The youth — artists like Travis Scott, Future, Migos — they want nothing to do with the Grammy process because they feel like it's old and outdated," Shawn Holiday, a voting member of the Recording Academy and senior vice president of A&R at Sony/ATV music publishing and Columbia Records, told BuzzFeed News. Holiday believes the move towards online voting is a step in the right direction towards engaging a younger demographic, but believes the Recording Academy "hasn't yet scratched the surface" in its efforts to keep up with contemporary culture. "I don't think the Grammys are always in touch with the people who are really close to the culture and touching the music," he said. "And I can say that because I'm in those committees and I see the people that they bring."
He adds: "If a lot of really great artists and producers and engineers and songwriters in the world are choosing not to participate, then our awards are gonna reflect that," he said. "We're doing everything we can to make the process as seamless and as fair and have as much integrity as possible."