The Recording Academy announced today that the Grammy Awards will be cutting nearly one third of its categories. Next year's Grammys will hand out trophies in only (?) 78 categories, down from the 109 awarded this past February.
In slashing 31 awards from the slate, numerous categories across all genres are being combined or removed. In the pop field, for example, there will no longer be separate categories for Male and Female Vocal Performance; individual artists of both genders will now compete in an all-encompassing Pop Solo Performance. This means artists like Lady Gaga and Beyonce will directly compete against John Mayer and Michael Buble—and the odds of Katy Perry scoring another Vocal Performance nomination aren't good. The new country music categories will follow the same format.
Among other changes, Pop Collaboration is being folded into Performance by a Pop Duo or Group, the metal and hard rock genres are merging, and only one R&B Vocal Performance award will be given, recognizing men, women, and groups.
A press release from the Academy details the history of the Grammys' often ridiculed growth—it began with only 28 categories in 1959—and also explains the decision to cut back so drastically this year:
For 53 years, The Recording Academy has recognized musical excellence with the GRAMMY Awards -- the most prestigious and only peer-recognized award in music -- and the awards have grown from 28 Categories in 1959, to awards in 109 Categories for the most recent 53rd GRAMMYs. This growth springs from a tradition of honoring specific genres and/or subgenres within a Field, and it has basically been approached one Category at a time without a current overall guiding vision and without consistency across the various genre Fields. In 2009, The Academy initiated a first-ever comprehensive evaluation of its Awards process, which led to a desire for change. A transformation of the entire Awards structure would ensure that all Fields would be treated with parity. Diligent research, careful analysis, and thoughtful discussion of all Fields resulted in an overarching framework and a restructuring of Categories to 78, and ensures that every submission continues to have a home.
A breakdown of the category changes is laid out in a handy chart on the Academy's website.
Read the full story at Grammy.org.