Songwriters get their moment in the sun.
The Recording Academy announced Thursday that it plans to host a newly created Grammy Award for Songwriter of the Year, beginning with the 65th Grammys ceremony to be held in 2023.
The award, which is modeled after the organization’s Producer of the Year award, will “recognize the written excellence, profession and artistry of songwriting” and “honor the most prolific non-performing and non-producing songwriters” for work, according to a statement from the Academy , released during the eligibility period of a particular ceremony.
This language means that, for example, Taylor Swift or Bad Bunny couldn’t win the award for songs they wrote or co-wrote to perform themselves; ditto Louis Bell, say, for songs he wrote and Produced for Post Malone. Instead, think of someone like Sarah Aarons, who has co-written hits for Maren Morris, Zedd and Gracie Abrams in an era when pop and hip-hop tracks are often put together by committees. (The 65th Grammys, the date of which has not yet been announced, will consider songs and albums released between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022.)
So why a new award?
“The song is the building block for our entire creative industry,” Recording Academy chief executive Harvey Mason Jr. told The Times. Mason described the Songwriter of the Year award as part of the academy’s larger effort to “wrap our arms around more creators and more passion for music.” (The 64th Grammys in April saw 10 nominees in the top categories Album of the Year and Best New Artist for the first time, instead of eight. Like Producer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year will have five nominees to have.)
The songwriting award was one of several new Grammys the Academy unveiled Thursday, along with awards for alternative music performances and Americana performances — these recognize individual songs in genres that already had album categories — and a score-soundtrack award for Video Games and Other Interactive Media.
Referring to this latest award, Mason said the academy wants to “ensure we don’t miss out on the incredible skill and talent” of composers “creating spectacular art around video games” like Halo, Minecraft and Assassin’s Creed “. Tracks that each have tens of millions of streams on Spotify.
“When we hear from a constituency and they say, ‘Hey, we’re out here and you guys miss us,’ we pay close attention,” Mason said of the game composers among the approximately 11,000 voting members of the academy.
Rule changes for the Grammys also included a split of the spoken word category into two awards – one for Audiobook, Narration and Storytelling and one for Poetry – and a newly created award for Songs for Social Change. According to the Academy’s guidelines, this award — which is determined by an insider committee rather than Grammy voters — is intended to recognize songs with “lyrical content that address a social issue of current interest and promote understanding, peacemaking and empathy.”
When asked if he was concerned that such an award might alienate conservative viewers who view awards shows as venues for great Hollywood liberals, Mason said, “We’re always concerned about alienating someone, but I hope we don’t, because this is a celebration of music, not politics.”
The Academy also announced that it will require its members to submit more than five recordings for the Grammys. Fees range from $40 to $125 depending on the time of submission, although the guidelines state that “any member who would be charged by the entry fees” can request that they be waived.
Mason said the fees are intended to discourage members from “using the scatter approach of just trying to submit every song on your record in every genre even though you know damn well it’s not a country record.” Maybe someone wants their name on the ballot because they think if voters see it for several years in a row it might stick.”
The academy hasn’t officially said where the 65th Grammys will be held, but the ceremony is expected to return to its longtime home of Crypto.com Arena (formerly the Staples Center) in downtown Los Angeles after a pandemic-inspired move last spring Las Vegas.
Big winners at the 64th Grammys included Jon Batiste’s “We Are” for Album of the Year, Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open” for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and Olivia Rodrigo for Best New Artist.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2022-06-09/grammys-songwriter-of-the-year-2023 Grammys to add songwriter of the year category for 2023