The GRAMMY Voting Process Explained

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on January 28, 2018. The CBS network will broadcast the show live from the Madison Square Garden in New York City.   This prestigious award, originally named for the gramophone, is one of the most coveted in the music industry.  Many call this the biggest night in music, with lots of moans, groans and complaints about who and what music makes it to list of nominees and event more about who wins each category.  In 2015 we had a Kanye Moment when Kanye West rushed the stage after Beck won album of the year.  To help clarify the GRAMMY voting process I pulled together the answers to a few key questions:

  1. Who gets to vote on the GRAMMYs?
  2. Who gets to submit music?
  3. How does the GRAMMY voting process work?

Who gets to vote on the GRAMMYs?

It only costs $100 a year, for qualified individuals, to become a member of the group that selects the winners of each year’s GRAMMY Awards.  Beyond this fee one has to be a performing artist, creative professional or technical professional who qualifies in at least one of a few categories. People included in these categories include vocalists, conductors, songwriters, composers, engineers, producers, instrumentalists, arrangers, art directors, album notes writers, narrators, and music video artists and technicians.  Below are the four different ways to become a Voting Member.

  • Have an Online Music Catalog: Must have 12 qualifying physical or digital tracks or equivalent duration of content in the U.S. through recognized online music retailers; at least one of these tracks needs to have been released within the last five years; and your content must be currently available for sale.
  • Have a Physical Music Catalog: Must have 6 qualifying physical tracks or equivalent duration of content in the U.S. through physical distribution outlets; at least one of these tracks needs to have been released within the last five years;  and your content must be currently available for sale.
  • GRAMMY Nomination:  If you were nominated for a GRAMMY Award within the previous five years.

Who gets to submit music?

The Academy accepts music entries its members and from registered media companies.  Over 20,000 entries are submitted online each year to the Recording Academy. Entries that meet all eligibility requirements are then voted on by The Academy’s Voting Members, and the results of that vote are the nominations.

How does the GRAMMY voting process work?

From the over 20,000 submissions the members vote one round for up to five selections in each category.  After round one a select group of about 150 voting members narrows down the choices in each category to five nominees.  This round two selection is done via secret ballot to determine the final nominations.  The GRAMMY voting members then review the final list of nominations and place one vote in up to twenty categories based on their field of expertise and the four categories of the General Field (Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best New Artist.)  These third round votes are then mailed in on a paper ballot.  These paper ballots are then tallied by the accounting firm Deloitte with the winners’ names placed into sealed envelopes.

The results aren’t publicly known until the GRAMMY Awards telecast.

 

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