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Grammy organizers end ‘secret committees’ amid corruption allegations

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Organizers of music’s famed Grammy Awards are putting an end to so-called “secret” committees that the likes of The Weeknd and other pop stars have alleged lead to rigging of the music awards show.

The Recording Academy said Friday that nominations for the next Grammy Awards in January will be chosen by its 11,000 voting members instead of by committees of 15 to 30 industry experts that have remained anonymous.

Chairman and interim president and Chief Executive of the Recording Academy Harvey Mason Jr. called 2021 an “unprecedented, transformational” year for the group.

“This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community,” he said.

Changes only came after The Academy was slammed last year by Canadian artist The Weeknd, who got zero Grammy nominations, even though his critically-acclaimed album “After Hours” was one of the biggest sellers of 2020.

The “Blinding Lights” singer took to Twitter last November, writing: “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.” In March, the artist doubled-down and said he was boycotting the music awards show for good, citing “secret committees” that handpick the nominees.

The Weeknd
The Weeknd is one of several pop stars who have accused Grammy organizers of being corrupt.
REUTERS

Pop star Halsey, who was also snubbed by the 2021 Grammys, last year called the nominations process “elusive” and said she was “hoping for more transparency or reform.”

Meanwhile, Former One Direction singer Zayn Malik took to Twitter in March, calling for an end to “secret committees.”

“I’m keeping the pressure on & fighting for transparency & inclusion. We need to make sure we are honoring and celebrating ‘creative excellence’ of ALL,” Malik tweeted hours before 2021 Grammy Awards ceremony.

The Recording Academy said in a statement on Friday that the changes it made were not only “significant,” but would also “ensure that the Grammy Awards rules and guidelines are transparent and equitable.”

Allegations that the Grammy nominations process is rigged were made in a lawsuit filed in early 2019 by former CEO of the Recording Academy Deborah Dugan, who was fired.

Grammy trophies
Organizers of the Grammy Awards are putting an end to so-called “secret” committees that some pop stars have allegedly led to rigging of the music awards show.
Corbis via Getty Images

Dugan claimed she was axed for her allegations that the Academy’s members nominated artists they have relationships with, but the group dismissed the accusations as “categorically false, misleading and wrong.”

In addition for making changes to its nominations process, the Academy said Friday that it was adding two new Grammy categories, one for best global music performance, and the other for best Latin urban music album. This will bring the total number of Grammy Awards each year to 86.

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