The 2018 Grammy Award nominations were released this morning, and certain categories looked markedly more diverse in their selections. “Despacito” became the first Spanish-language song to be nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, every lead artist nominated for Record of the Year was a person of color, and the list for best Album of the Year did not contain a single white male artist for the first time in Grammy history. (Sorry, Ed Sheeran.) In short, the nominations are incredibly diverse. Even Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow noticed, telling Billboard it’s “a wonderful reflection on our organization and how relevant and in touch and savvy our voting members are.”
So, how did this happen? A switch to digital voting and a revamp of the Grammy online platform are likely large contributing factors. Grammy nominees are decided by voting members: music industry professionals who have creative or technical credits on at least six commercial tracks on a physical music release, or 12 on a digital album. They’re not just label bigwigs. They’re songwriters, touring artists, and engineers. And, there’s only about 13,000 of them. So we discussed how these changes could have such a dramatic impact on the current crop of Grammy nominees.
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