2018 Grammys: The Process, Snubs, and Winners

The beginning of each new year generates a global frenzy of opinions about the notable occurrences from the previous. Since 1959, we have looked to the Grammys as a way to honor exceptional musical accomplishments from the year. Most people–including me. until I did some research–have no idea how nominations are made and how Grammy winners are chosen. According to the Grammy website, Grammy judges begin the process with “more than 350 experts in various fields” who screen eligible recordings and categorize them. Then, it gets a little more complicated. The Grammys have a committee of voters who have applied for the position and pay yearly dues of $100. These voters are all technically “qualified” because the Grammys have a prerequisite in place that voters must have creative or technical credits on either six physical music releases or twelve digital. So, these members each vote in up to fifteen categories each, thus judging an array of musicians. The musicians with the most votes are then chosen and sent back to these voting members, and the process is repeated. On the day of the awards show, an “independent accounting firm” called Deloitte tallies the votes and sends the results in sealed envelopes so that they can be revealed simultaneously to the whole world.

This year, nominations were controversial. There wasn’t much diversity in the genres of music that won; the winners were largely based in rap, hip hop, and R&B. Except for two exceptions, these genres dominated the general field of awards. This leads me to one of the biggest snubs of 2018, Ed Sheeran. He was nominated for two genre-specific awards, but he was missing completely from any of the four major awards. Many critics believed that he would take home the Grammy for more than one of these because of his undeniable success in 2017. Another notable snub was Harry Styles. He had immense success with his debut studio album, reaching number one on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums, but his name was nowhere to be found on the list of nominations. The general consensus is that since his album broke down stereotypical genre barriers, it wasn’t possible to categorize, which is why he didn’t receive an award. Despite these snubs and a few others, the musicians who were nominated were far from surprising. Ultimately, Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar, and many others took home the golden statuettes (i.e., the trophies awarded). Whether it be Frank Sinatra winning the first Grammy or Bruno Mars this year, there is no denying the lasting effect of this awards show. Hopefully, as the music industry continues to grow and develop, so do the Grammys.