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Report: The Recording Academy Considering Eliminating Nomination Review Committees

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LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — The Grammy Awards’ nomination review committees and their perceived lack of transparency may be a thing of the past as the Recording Academy is reportedly weighing doing away with them.

According to the Associated Press, a person familiar with internal discussions at the Academy said a number of proposals were submitted this year addressing the nomination review committees, including potentially eliminating them. The AP did not identify the name of the source, who it said spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly speak on the subject.

The nomination committees, panels of at least 20 “music generalists” who are voting members of the academy, vote on the nominees for a majority of the Grammys’ 84 categories. The committees, which review the top 20 selections resulting from the general membership vote on the first ballot, then vote via confidential ballot to select the top eight nominations in each category, are intended to protect the integrity of the selection categories and the nomination process.

However, the committees have become a point of controversy for the academy with critics, including industry insiders and artists complaining they contribute to a lack of transparency.

Others, including former Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan, allege that the nomination process itself was corrupt, with industry insiders using their positions on the nomination committees to advance their own artists, projects, or other financial interests.

Dugan, who was fired by the Academy after just a few months on the job, made the allegations in a complaint with California’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after her exit from the organization.

“Naturally, the members of the board and the secret committees chose artists with whom they have personal or business relationships,” Dugan said in the complaint.

She also accused the nominating committees of manipulating the nomination process to ensure that artists whose songs that Grammy producer Ken Erlich wants performed at the awards show, are nominated for awards.

Recording artists have also questioned the integrity of the nomination process. Earlier this year, Canadian recording artist The Weeknd announced that he would no longer allow his label to submit his music for consideration by the Recording Academy due to what he described as “secret committees.”

Zayn Malik voiced criticism of his own, suggesting the nomination process was an insider game. “F*** the Grammys and everyone associated,” Malik tweeted. “Unless you shake hands and send gifts, there’s no nomination considerations. Next year I’ll send you a basket of confectionary.”

Recording artist Halsey in November also hinted at bribery in the nomination process. “The Grammys are an elusive process. It can often be about behind-the-scenes private performances, knowing the right people, campaigning through the grapevine, with the right handshakes and ‘bribes’ that can be just ambiguous enough to pass as ‘not bribes.’” she said on social media.

It is worth noting that all three of these artists went public with their criticism of the nomination process after failing to be nominated.

The Recording Academy has emphatically denied allegations that the nomination process is tainted.

In a statement released in the wake of Dugan’s complaint, Harvey Mason, acting CEO of the Recording Academy said:

“It is the goal of the Recording Academy to ensure the GRAMMY Awards process is led in a fair and ethical manner and that voting members make their choices based solely on the artistic excellence and technical merits of eligible recordings.”

“Spurious allegations claiming members or committees use our process to push forward nominations for artists they have relationships with are categorically false, misleading and wrong. This process is strictly enforced with everyone involved and has no exceptions.”

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