The Grammy Awards are set for a major overhaul from 2012 onwards following a decision from America's Recording Academy officials to cut over 30 honors.
Many categories have been consolidated and eligibility requirements have been altered in the most far-reaching shake-up in the awards show's history. At next year's 54th annual Grammy Awards, there will be only 78 categories – 31 fewer than this year.
Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow and music mogul Jimmy Jam were among the high-ranking Grammy officials who made the announcement about the big changes at a press conference in Santa Monica, California on Wednesday.
The biggest changes are the amalgamation of the pop, R&B, rock and country categories for both genders – there will no longer be separate awards for male or female vocals.
Several instrumental categories have also been eliminated.
Portnow tells Billboard.com, "Every year there are changes but we've never… stopped and stepped back to look at the whole thing. (We asked), ';Is there an underlying infrastructure and rationale across all the awards as to how we're doing this?' And what we found is, there wasn't.
"So we said, ';All right, let's deal with the holy grail here. Let's sit down and talk about what might be a vision or an overview structure of this that gives us some consistency.'"
In another big change, a category will be scrapped from the awards show if there are fewer than 25 submissions, and the category will be discontinued if there are fewer than 25 entries for three consecutive years.
Categories already dropped from next year's Grammys include ';contemporary R&B album' and ';urban/alternative performance', while awards for Hawaiian music, Native American music and zydeco or Cajun have been folded into the Single Regional Roots Music category.