Amid a climate of constant change in the music industry, it’s crucial for thriving artists to be at the forefront of innovation. This could be through groundbreaking live performances, cutting-edge activations, or creative digital campaigns – the options are endless. With this in mind, the following awards recognize industry players who have made a major contribution to Canadian music over the past year.
The Recording Academy’s annual awards honor the best in music, from pop and rap to country and classical. It’s a big night that celebrates the biggest names in music with a dazzling array of performances and memorable moments.
This year’s show was hosted by Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton, who were both making their first appearances as hosts. They shared easy banter that had the audience laughing in their seats, while also video conferencing with Willie Nelson to wish him a happy 90th birthday. The show was a ratings success, reaching its highest viewership ever with 31.7 million people tuning in to watch.
It’s hard to deny the importance of the Grammys, but some have criticized their selection process as based more on sales than artistry. For example, 1978’s Best New Artist winner Debby Boone (daughter of 1950s pop icon Pat Boone) had topped the Billboard charts for a decade before winning her award, but she hardly inspires confidence that the awards are based on artistic achievement. Similarly, jazz musicians have long complained that the awards are more concerned with selling tickets and TV time than rewarding their art.
However, the Grammys have been working to be more inclusive and diverse, and have recently added a new category called Best Song for Social Awareness, which honors songs that promote a positive message of inclusivity, diversity, or social awareness. The new category is intended to highlight the impact that a musical piece can have on society, and was introduced at a time when artists and their audiences are calling out for more social consciousness in the world.
In addition, the Grammys have consolidated some of their categories to make room for more submissions. This includes combining the Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album categories into one, and merging the traditional blues and contemporary folk categories into a single category for contemporary blues and folk. They have also moved the award ceremony back to January from February.
In addition to the main categories, the Grammys also present Special Merit Awards for a variety of other contributions in music. These are usually chosen by a panel of experts, rather than the public at large. The Trustees Award honors the legacy of an established music figure, while the Lifetime Achievement and Pioneering Contributions Awards are selected by the Grammy’s 12 Chapters. A special Blue Ribbon Committee selects the Trustees Award and Lifetime Achievement Award winners each year. The panel is primarily composed of music industry professionals with experience in the categories being honored. Other members of the committee are nominated by the Chapters each year.