Grammy Awards cut 31 categories in big overhaul

Wed Apr 6, 2011 4:05pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In a major Grammys overhaul designed to reduce the bloated structure of the music industry's top awards, organizers said on Wednesday they would slash the number of categories to 78 from 109 for next year's ceremony.

Many existing categories will be merged, while some will be dropped outright with contenders from different musical genres required to compete in new, all-purpose categories.

The top awards -- album, record and song of the year, and best new artist -- will remain untouched.

Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said the changes followed discussions that involved "some pretty passionate discomfort" and would be "a little unsettling" to some musicians.

But he said a restructuring was necessary to maintain the "prestige of the highest and only peer-recognized award in music".

Television viewers will not notice the changes, since only about 10 awards are announced during the three-and-a-half hour telecast. The rest are handed out earlier in the day during a fast-paced ceremony that is broadcast on the Internet.

The R&B field suffered one of the biggest cuts, with the number of awards halved to four. The three R&B vocal performance awards for males, females and groups have been merged into a single R&B performance award.

The Recording Academy's Vice President of Awards, Bill Freimuth, said some of the R&B categories had not received many submissions in years past.   Continued...