If Kanye West is donda or Justin Bieber Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe) wins album of the year at the 64th annual Grammy Awards on April 3, the Recording Academy will hand out over 100 golden gramophones in this category alone.
As you can see from the Academy’s updated list of nominations, 77 songwriters on donda are in line to win Grammys, more than on any other album of the year. donda also employed more producers (41) and star artists (29) than any of the other Album of the Year nominees. It employed 19 engineers/mixers, the third highest total of any nominated album. (You can’t just add those numbers together to get a grand total, because some people have served multiple tracks on the album, but are in line to receive a single Grammy if the album wins.)
The numbers on Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe) are almost as stunning. The album employed 73 songwriters, 32 producers, 19 engineers/mixers, and 14 featured artists. (Again, some people served multiple titles on the album.)
As a result, a record number of people can walk away with a trophy if one of these albums, or other nominees like HER In the back of my mind, Doja Cat’s Planet Elle (Deluxe) or Lil Nas X Montero, wins Grammy night.
Why are the Grammys so generous?
This all stems from a rule change the Recording Academy announced on May 26: “Going forward, all credited artists (including featured artists), songwriters of new material, producers, engineers sound engineers, mixers and mastering engineers are eligible for Grammy nominations and recipients in the album of the year category.Previously, the rule stated that all artists, songwriters, producers, sound engineers, mixers and mastering engineers had to be credited with at least 33% or more of playing time.”
The impulse at the Recording Academy to be generous is easy to understand. Albums with huge numbers of participants usually come from hip-hop and contemporary R&B, a community that has felt undervalued and scorned at the Grammys over the years. No hip-hop or contemporary R&B album has won album of the year since OutKast Speakerboxxx/Love From Below 18 years ago.
The Academy therefore bends over backwards to be inclusive. They prefer to send a letter of congratulations rather than a letter expressing regret that someone did not meet the standard.
But by opening the doors to everyone on an album, no matter how small, the Academy risks devaluing the Grammys, especially in what has long been considered its most prestigious category.
It will be very interesting to see if the Academy changes this rule at its annual Trustees meeting in May. Admins can decide there needs to be a “floor” in place, if not 33%, maybe 20%. Or he may decide he likes to make friends, especially in the world of hip-hop, where he’s long seemed to make enemies — even if that means the list of nominations for album of the year. is absurdly long.
The Recording Academy hasn’t always handed out the Grammys like Halloween candy. From 1958, the year of the first Grammys, to 1964, only the artist won when an album won album of the year. In 1965, the Academy also began awarding producers for Album of the Year, but in the 1960s and 1970s, usually only one producer worked on an entire album.
As recently as 1997, only two trophies were awarded for album of the year. Bob Dylan won as a performer on time out of mind. Daniel Lanois won as producer. (Songwriters and featured artists weren’t eligible to win Album of the Year at the time, but that wouldn’t have made a difference. Dylan wrote all the songs on the album, including the modern classic “Make You Feel My Love”, by itself. And the album had no featured artists.)
The following year, the Academy began broadening the scope of who would win for Album of the Year. They started awarding engineers/mixers in 1998, mastering engineers in 2001, featuring artists in 2007, and songwriters in 2017.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is much stricter on eligibility. Here are their current rules regarding eligibility for Best Original Score: “No more than one statuette will normally be awarded in the Original Score category. A second statuette may be awarded when two credited composers function as equal collaborators, each contributing fully to the film’s original dramatic plot.
“In cases where three or more credited composers function as equal collaborators, only one statuette may be awarded to the group. Each composer must accept the single “group statuette” option by signing and returning a group price form before the submission deadline. The final determination of the band’s award-winning composers will be made by the Music Branch Executive Committee. »
At the 93rd annual Academy Awards in April, the winners for Best Original Score were Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, for Soul. It was the first time three composers had collaborated on a winning score since Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne and Cong Su shared the 1987 prize for The Last Emperor.
If the Academy enforced their rule, Reznor, Ross, and Batiste share a statuette.
Just as the Grammys are too lenient, it’s too strict. To be fair, it’s hard to find the right balance. Situations arise where a rule that seemed perfectly reasonable on paper just doesn’t feel right in practice.
It will be interesting to see if the film academy changes this rule in light of the Soul episode.
Here is their rule regarding their other music award, Best Original Song: “No more than two statuettes will normally be awarded in the Original Song category. A third statuette may be awarded when there are three substantially equal authors of a song. The Music Branch Executive Committee has the right, in what it alone deems to be a very rare and extraordinary circumstance, to award a fourth statuette.
“In cases where five or more credited songwriters function as collaborators, only one statuette may be awarded to the group. Each songwriter must accept the single “group statuette” option by signing and returning a group price form before the submission deadline. The final determination of the band’s award-winning songwriters will be made by the Music Branch Executive Committee. »
There has never been a Best Original Song winner with five or more co-writers. There have been two with four co-writers. Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt co-wrote ‘Shallow’ A star is born, winner three years ago. Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen shared the 1981 award for co-writing “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Arthur.
Allen did not actively participate in the writing of this song. Sager had borrowed one of her lines from an old “trunk song” (an unreleased song) she and Allen had co-written – “when you’re caught between the moon and New York”. This was by far the most memorable and quoted line from “Arthur’s Theme”. Should such a situation arise again, the Academy would have to decide whether this contribution is eligible, but the new, stricter Academy does not seem inclined to accept it.
Going back to the Grammys, if Billie Eilish is happier than ever wins album of the year, only five people will win Grammys: Eilish; Finneas, his brother, producer and songwriting partner; Rob Kinelski, who teamed up with them to design and mix the album; and John Greenham and Dave Kutch, who served as mastering engineers.
If Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga love for sale or Olivia Rodrigo Sour wins, the number of Grammys handed out would also be quite reasonable – just seven in each case.
The number of potential winners in two other Big Four categories also varies widely depending on who wins.
If Rodrigo’s ‘Driver’s License’ or Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’ wins Record of the Year, the Academy will only need four Grammys (in either case) for all eligible entrants to win. a Grammy. On the other hand, if Doja Cat with SZA’s “Kiss Me More” wins, they will need 10.
If “Driver’s License” or “Happier Than Ever” wins Song of the Year, the Academy will only need two Grammys (in either case) for all of the nominated songwriters to be honored. But if Bieber’s “Peaches” (featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon) wins Song of the Year, the Academy will need 11 Grammys to cover all the nominated songwriters. (It’s a new Grammy record for most songwriters on a nominated song of the year).
Here are this year’s Album of the Year nominees, ranked by number of professional nominees in each of the four categories:
77 – Kanye West, donda
73 – Justin Bieber, Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)
51 – SHE, In the back of my mind
35 – Doja Cat, Planet Elle (Deluxe)
24 – Lil Nas X, Montero
12 – Jon Batiste, We are
6-Taylor Swift, Always
3 – Olivia Rodrigo, Sour
2 – Billie Eililsh, happier than ever
0 – Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, love for sale (songs are all vintage Cole Porter songs. Only songwriters of newly written material are eligible)
41 – donda
32 – Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)
28 – In the back of my mind
19 – Planet Elle (Deluxe)
16 – Montero
12 – We are
4 – Always
3 – Sour
1 – happier than ever
1 – love for sale
29 – Always
21 – In the back of my mind
19 – donda
19 – Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)
17 – Montero
13 – We are
ten – Planet Elle (Deluxe)
3 – happier than ever
3 – love for sale
3 – Sour
29 – donda
14 – Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)
11 – We are
9 – In the back of my mind
seven – Planet Elle (Deluxe)
5 – Montero
3 – Always
0 – happier than ever
0 – love for sale
0 – Sour
Note: The Academy also awards Grammys to mastering engineers for album (and record) of the year, but the number of mastering engineers doesn’t vary much from album to album. a minimum of one to a maximum of three from that year’s album. nominees of the year.