In January 2010, millions of music fans tuned in to watch the Grammy Awards ceremony. However, confusion surrounding the nominees for the Best New Artist category clouded the scene. Though 2009 had become known as The Year of Lady Gaga in the music community, the pop songstress was notably absent from the list of Best New Artist nominees.
Those who are familiar with the Grammys’ rules for Best New Artist eligibility know that Lady Gaga’s 2008 Best Dance Recording nomination for her song “Just Dance” was the deal-breaker. Until very recently, no musician who had previously been nominated for a Grammy could be a contender for the Best New Artist award. Though Lady Gaga took home two statuettes in January – one for Best Dance Recording and another for Best Electronic/Dance Album – fans across the world were in an uproar over her ineligibility for Best New Artist.
“There will be some changes so that particular situation won’t repeat itself,” promised Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, and on July 7, 2010, who made good on his word. In a change to the Grammy rules, artists who were previously nominated for a Grammy are now eligible for the Best New Artist award, providing they have not yet won a Grammy nor released a full album.
This rule change has come too late to benefit Lady Gaga, whose record-breaking album sales, sold-out concert tour, and extended stay on the Billboard charts have probably provided some consolation, but the Recording Academy earns the respect of many by showing its willingness to correct a situation that might otherwise have slighted future up-and-coming artists. Collaborations between established and growing artists have steadily increased in popularity as the music community strives to push creative boundaries, and the change in Grammy rules now makes it possible for new artists to work with industry veterans without having to worry that a Grammy-nominated breakout hit might ruin their chances of receiving one of the Academy’s highest honors.
The future of the music industry is looking brighter, and with the Grammys allowing greater opportunities for success it is now a better time than ever for new artists to enter the scene.