Following last year’s Grammy Awards, music industry illuminati Steve Stoute published an open letter to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the New York Times arguing that, “the Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture,” and display a, “fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic.” Yesterday, the ridiculed NARAS announced it will attempt to resuscitate the relevance of it’s ceremony, handing out just 78 Grammys next year, cut from the current roster of 109 prizes.
R&B, pop and country categories will become gender-neutral (Beyonce now free to beat both Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars, if she brings it) and there will be four-fewer classical and American roots awards. Rap groups and solo acts will now compete for a consolidated best rap performance trophy. Reflecting the growing audience for regional-Mexican format radio, banda/norteño is now one category. The academy axed best instrumental categories (sorry Clams Casino), best Native American, zydeco, Cajun, Hawaiian, and best rock or rap gospel album categories, the latter a cruel hit to American spiritual legend/sex addict Kirk Franklin and Beyonce’s dad Matthew Knowles, who got dumped and left to a roster of gospel crossover artists.
Stoute said the changes are, “a step in the right direction, but it’s still a Band-Aid on the problem.”