Last year, after receiving zero nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards, The Weeknd called the Grammys “corrupt” and announced he would be boycotting the awards for the rest of his career. Abel Tesfaye, whose 2020 album After Hours was a critical and commercial success, specifically took issue with the Recording Academy’s “secret committees” that historically finalized the ballots in many of the categories.
On Friday, the Grammys announced significant changes to its nomination process, including the elimination of these nominating committees, which were introduced in 1989 “to eliminate the potential for a general-awareness bias that might favor artists who enjoy greater name recognition over emerging artists, independent music and late-year releases,” according to Harvey Mason Jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. Because the nominees for the main categories will now be chosen by the general Academy electorate, the Recording Academy also said that 90% of its voting members will go through a requalification process by the end of 2021 “to ensure that the voting body is actively engaged in music creation.”
Today (May 3), the Weeknd has issued a statement to The New York Times addressing these changes. “Even though I won’t be submitting my music, the Grammys’ recent admission of corruption will hopefully be a positive move for the future of this plagued award and give the artist community the respect it deserves with a transparent voting process,” he said.