The Grammy Award Winners are chosen as follows:
1) Submission: Submissions for awards are submitted and screened for eligibility by the Recording Academy and select record companies.
2) Screening & Placement: 150 “experts” of The Recording Academy screen the entries and place them in their appropriate genre. (Don’t know about you, but these “Genre Experts,” need to update their genre and sub-genre listening abilities, which pretty much anyone can do.)
3) Nominating: ”Voting members in good dues standing,” as the voting party is listed on the Grammy website, are directed to only vote for the 20 categories in their own genre, as well as for (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist). The Ballots are then tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Deloitte.
4) Voting: Once the nominees are decided and announced, final voting happens under the same circumstances that those of the nominees did above, choosing from the top 5 nominees under your genre category and the awards of (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist). The Ballots are then tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Deloitte, and the winners are announced during Grammy week, with some awards saved for the Grammy Award Live Telecast.
Here’s How Beck Won:
First, Beck won Album of the Year because his voting base wasn’t divided. Voters who were going to vote for Beyoncé could have swung to Sam Smith or Pharrell, or even Ed Sheeran’s camp, because all of those nominees had voter bases in the same genre that overlapped substantially. Beck was the only Rock artist to be nominated for Album of the Year, so with that, the people voting in the Rock category had to choose Rock. Same thing happened with Arcade Fire in 2011.
Second, the nominees for Album of the Year, though voted on by Recording Academy members, are ultimately chosen by a secret committee that the Recording Academy formed in the 1990s to review voters’ choices. To the Grammys’ credit, this committee has a point. It was established after Lionel Richie’sCan’t Slow Down won Album of the Year over Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA and Prince’sPurple Rain. Richie was far from the best choice that year, and his win helped create the public perception that the Grammys were cut off from what “good music” meant.This secret committee reviews the top four awards (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist), as well as some of the larger genre categories, and makes any changes it sees fit.Beck won the popular vote fair and square because he had no genre competition. But whether he was nominated fairly (whether any artist was nominated fairly) is something to be skeptical about.If you’re looking for someone to blame for the Album of the Year Grammy, don’t pick Beck, a masterful musician who has produced nine good albums in the past two decades and genuinely deserved to win this award at some point (just maybe not right now). Blame the anonymous committee that decides who gets to be a nominee for Album of the Year to begin with.
Lastly, as to how Sam Smith won 4 Grammy’s for writing new lyrics over Tom Petty’s, “Won’t Back Down”? Sadly, I don’t know how to answer that one.