The Grammys unveil five new categories, including one to honor songwriters
The Recording Academy announced several new Grammy categories on Thursday, June 9: Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical; Best Alternative Music Performance; Best American Musical Performance; Best soundtrack for video games and other interactive media; Best Spoken Poetry Album; and the Special Merit Award for Best Song for Social Change. All categories will come into effect at the 2023 ceremony next year.
“We are thrilled to honor these diverse communities of music creators through the newly created awards and edits, and to continue to cultivate an environment that inspires change, progress and collaboration,” the Recording CEO said. Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., in an official statement. “The Academy’s top priority is to effectively represent the musicians we serve, and each year that means listening to our members and ensuring our rules and guidelines reflect our ever-changing industry.”
The Non-Classical Songwriter of the Year award will be the first time non-producer and non-performing songwriters who do a significant amount of work will receive a prestigious and honorary award for their major work and impact in the music industry. Without these writers, we wouldn’t have many of your favorite hits and bops – something songwriters have been reminding the Recording Academy in recent years.
In 2022, a stipulation was deleted of the Album of the Year category which required songwriters and collaborators to have contributed at least 33% of an LP’s content in order to be included in the nomination. The removal allowed more songwriters to have a chance at being honored with these awards, especially on releases with multiple co-writers. The addition of a Pop Songwriter of the Year award reinforces this recognition.
“My background is as a songwriter and creator, so it made a lot of sense to me that we would honor someone as Songwriter of the Year the same way we do a producer, the best engineered album, things like that,” Mason Jr. told rolling stone. “What’s important is that the songwriting community wanted to be heard, and the Academy wholeheartedly accepted and is thrilled with this award.”
According to the Grammys website, the Non-Classical Songwriter of the Year award honors “the most prolific non-performing, non-producer songwriters”, with the aim of highlighting those whose work often takes place behind the scenes . The Best Alternative Music Performance and The Best US Performance were created to give some shine to tracks and singles from those respective genres. Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media celebrates the game’s original scores, and Best Spoken Word Poetry Album showcases the artists and their work, alone or set to music.
Notably, the Recording Academy also introduced a “Special Merit Award” for Best Song for Social Change. The award “will be determined by a Blue Ribbon Committee and ratified by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees. Submissions must contain lyrical content that addresses a timely social issue and promotes understanding, peacebuilding, and empathy.
Learn about all the new changes here.