When is a “nominee” not a nominee?

It’s happening again; about this time every year, some people announce that they’re “first round Grammy nominees.”

No disrespect to any of them; and, as a long-time record industry bystander, I cheerfully endorse everybody’s attempt to hype themselves however possible.

Which doesn’t mean we have to believe them, though, In truth, all you need to do to become a first round nominee (an inaccurate term used by some of the self-touted “nominees”, possibly in an unwitting error) is submit your record for consideration — not that everybody or their label does.

A special committee is supposed to vet all entries to make sure they meet qualifications, but sometimes that can get pretty slippery, what with all the entrants they have to consider. Which (plus your usual music biz politics) explains why “release” date can be a flexible term, and how a “new artist” can have been recording for a decade.

The first round (the hard copy of which used to be thicker than some phone books I’ve seen; the list is now sent out electronically) goes to the voting members and various committees (depending on the category) and are winnowed down to a list of finalists that DOES count and is announced — many of the major ones at a big TV show; this year on December 5.

Membership votes again and you’ve got your Grammys. Well, somebody does. The ceremony will be held February 10.

Remember: if your label doesn’t submit your record (too late for this year, but thinking ahead) you can submit it yourself. A big label isn’t going to submit everything they release; like everything else, politics plays a part in this. And a small label may not know how to submit for Grammy consideration.

Unlike some competitions, I don’t believe there’s an entry charge — though you do have to supply several copies of the record. Or maybe you can just send them a link; I don’t know.

Contact the Recording Academy for details. Then all you need to do is round up sufficient votes from Academy members to qualify for the final ballot — in some categories, it isn’t necessarily that many. And when the final list comes out next year, you can announce yourself as a Grammy nominee. This time, for real.

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One comment on “When is a “nominee” not a nominee?

  1. What a fantastic resume you have. Miss you and all those great concerts. Best to you always.

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