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Grammys add new categories, including for pop dance recording and African music performance

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — More change is afoot at the Grammys. The Recording Academy announced Tuesday that three new categories will be added to the awards show in 2024: best pop dance recording, best African music performance, and best alternative jazz album.

In addition, two existing categories have been moved to the general field, which means that all Grammy voters can participate in selecting the winners: producer of the year, non-classical, and songwriter of the year, non-classical, the latter of which was first introduced this year.

Previously, the general categories were made up solely of the “Big Four” awards: best new artist, as well as album, record, and song of the year. Grammy voters are eligible to vote in general categories, as well as up to ten categories across three genre fields — and are instructed only to vote in their area of expertise. The changes to those two categories reflect an evolving music industry, where songwriters and producers have become increasingly celebrated for their contributions.

The new best African music performance category will highlight “regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions,” according to a Recording Academy press release, including genres like “Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop, and Ethio Jazz.”

The best pop dance recording category is defined by “up-tempo, danceable music that follows a pop arrangement" and recordings that “feature strong rhythmic beats and significant electronic-based instruments with an emphasis on the vocal performance, melody and hooks.” Dance remixes do not apply.

And finally, the best alternative jazz album category will spotlight alternative jazz albums that blend genre, hybridizing jazz and other musical styles including “R&B, Hip-Hop, Classical, Contemporary Improvisation, Experimental, Pop, Rap, Electronic/Dance music, and/or Spoken Word.”

“The Recording Academy is proud to announce these latest Category changes to our Awards process. These changes reflect our commitment to actively listen and respond to the feedback from our music community, accurately represent a diverse range of relevant musical genres, and stay aligned with the ever-evolving musical landscape,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said in a statement.

“By introducing these three new Categories, we are able to acknowledge and appreciate a broader array of artists," he said. "We are excited to honor and celebrate the creators and recordings in these Categories, while also exposing a wider range of music to fans worldwide.”