The new awards include Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical; Best Alternative Music Performance; Best Americana Music Performance; Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media; and Best Spoken Word Poetry Album. Additionally, there will be a new special merit award given out for Best Song for Social Change. Submissions for the latter must contain lyrical content that addresses a timely social issue and promotes understanding, peacebuilding, and empathy.
“I feel we’re being thoughtful and strategic on how we’re adding categories,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement to Billboard the day before the changes were announced. “We’re doing it in a way to make sure we’re representing music and that’s ultimately our goal. I don’t care if it’s 50 categories or 150 categories. The number is not important. What is important to me and to us and our board [of trustees] is that we’re recognizing music in a way that music is being made
The slate of new categories brings the total up to 91, the highest number of competitive fields since 2010, as well as the largest single-year increase in 23 years. The fresh inclusions also precipitate a number of shifts among existing categories. For example, the prior award for Best Spoken World Album will now be renamed Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording and the Americana Roots category will become the genre with the most awards, surpassing Classical with nine categories total.
What’s more, each member is now limited to five free submissions, with additional entries costing up to $125 each. However, the Academy noted it will make considerations for artists or members “experiencing financial hardships.”
In addition, a previously approved eligibility rule requiring an album contain greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded (within five years of the release date) material is going into effect. The previous requirement was 50%.
For more rule changes to the upcoming 2023 Grammy Awards, check out the official statement on the Grammy’s website here.