The number of categories in the Grammy Awards have been cut down to 78 from 109 causing many eminent musicians including Carlos Santana and Paul Simon to protest. They allege that ethnic music was unfairly targeted.
The Recording Academy, the organization of music experts behind the Grammy Awards, announced last month that the number of recognized Grammy categories would be reduced to 78 from the original 109. They stated that this was done to make it more competitve. This has caused quite a stir among musicians who have formed a coalition, headed by four-time Latin Jazz Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria, to protest the cut. The allegations of the coalition include unfair targetting of ethnic music as well as decisions made without the input of all Academy members.
Neil Portnow, the Grammy President and CEO, has however denied these allegations saying that even in the mainstream categories 14 are cut and it is not just the non-mainstream that is being affected. Is cutting categories the way to go about making the Grammy’s more competitive? We agree with Paul Simon who wrote in his letter to the Academy that they have combined “previously distinct and separate types of music into a catch-all of blurry larger categories.”
If the protests are in vain, it is inevitable that current favourites and trends will win the Awards while lesser known types and genres of music remain in the shadows until they ultimately disappear.