meta-scriptThe 411 On The Big Four GRAMMY Categories |


The 411 On The Big Four GRAMMY Categories

The inside scoop on what it takes to be nominated for Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(For more information on the artists nominated this year for Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist, click here. For a complete list of nominees for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards, click here.)

At the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 12, 2012, artists will go head-to-head for four of the most prestigious GRAMMY Awards — Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist. The winners of these four coveted prizes will be distinguished as the cream of the crop for the year in music, as decided by the more than 11,000 members of the music community that make up The Recording Academy's voting body — professionals with creative or technical credits on six commercially released tracks, including vocalists, musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, composers, and other qualified music professionals.

But before these trophies are handed out on Music's Biggest Night, a lengthy voting and verification process is put in place by The Academy to ensure that each submitted piece of work is properly eligible for consideration.

It all begins each fall at the annual GRAMMY Awards screening meetings, which brings together music experts from around the country to pour through every entry for the upcoming GRAMMY Awards and ultimately decide in which category each recording is placed. Every album, song and artist (see exceptions below) that is deemed eligible is placed in the General Field categories. (To be eligible for a nomination, all recordings must have been released between Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2011, and be in general distribution in the United States.) The Academy's voting body then votes to determine the final nominations, which were announced last night during "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night." In approximately two weeks, final ballots will be sent to the voting members, who will then select the GRAMMY winners. An accounting firm will tabulate the votes and seal the results in envelopes that will be opened for the very first time on Feb. 12.

With the rest of the GRAMMY categories ranging from specific genres such as rock and pop to R&B and classical, this particular field allows for competition between artists across genres. Just last year we saw country stars Lady Antebellum win Record Of The Year against a field that included Eminem, Cee Lo Green and B.o.B and Bruno Mars, while jazz artist Esperanza Spalding bested artists including pop sensation Justin Bieber for Best New Artist.

Take a look at which artists and songwriters will battle it out this year, and learn about the criteria for being nominated in a "big four" category.


The Record Of The Year honor recognizes an artist's performance on a single track, as well as the overall contributions of the producer, recording engineer and/or mixer, if other than the artist. Previous winners range from the Eagles' "Hotel California" and Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It," to Coldplay's "Clocks" and the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice."



The Album Of The Year award honors an album in its entirety and is awarded to the artist, as well as the producer, recording engineer/mixer and mastering engineer, if other than the artist. Previous winners range from the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, to OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and Taylor Swift's Fearless, as well as such collective efforts as The Concert For Bangla Desh.



The Song Of The Year category recognizes the songwriters responsible for writing a single or track, and is not awarded to the artist (unless the artist also wrote the song). If the song was crafted by the members of a band or group, each member receives an individual nomination, rather than the group as one entity. Previous winners range from "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (written by Paul Simon) and "Every Breath You Take" (written by Sting), to "Beautiful Day" (written by the members of U2) and "Fallin'" (written by Alicia Keys).



The Best New Artist award honors a new artist who releases, during the eligibility year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist as a performer. Artists nominated in this category must have released at least one album during the eligibility period, but not more than three, and must not have previously been nominated for a GRAMMY, unless that nomination came before the release of an entire album. Previous winners range from the Beatles and José Feliciano, to Maroon 5 and Amy Winehouse.


To find out which artists will take home these coveted awards, tune in to the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Taylor Swift hold her GRAMMY Awards from the 2016 GRAMMYs
Taylor Swift at the 2016 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images


GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Taylor Swift Become The First Woman To Win Album Of The Year Twice

Celebrate the release of ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ by revisiting the night Taylor Swift made history as the first woman to win Album Of The Year twice at the 2016 GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Apr 18, 2024 - 10:32 pm

At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Taylor Swift became the artist with the most Album Of The Year awards in GRAMMY history with four total wins. But her first record-breaking AOTY moment traces back eight years ago, when she became the first woman to win the category twice.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, relive the moment she won the historic golden gramophone for her iconic fifth studio album, 1989, at the 2016 GRAMMYs.

“I want to thank the fans for the last 10 years,” Swift beamed, praising her loyal fanbase, the Swifties. She later acknowledged the Recording Academy for “this unbelievable honor” and the project’s main producer, Max Martin, who “deserved to be up there for 25 years.”

Before she left the stage, she offered an inspiring message to aspiring female musicians in light of her groundbreaking win. “To all the young women, there are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” she explained. “But if you just focus on the work and don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday, when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. That will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

Check out Taylor Swift’s complete acceptance speech for her second Album Of The Year win, before diving into the release of The Tortured Poets Department, and check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

Get Ready For Taylor Swift's ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Album Release: Everything You Need To Know

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus at the 2024 GRAMMYs

Photo: Valerie Macon / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images


2024 GRAMMYs: Miley Cyrus Wins The GRAMMY For Record Of The Year for "Flowers"

2024 GRAMMYs: Miley Cyrus Wins The GRAMMY for Record Of The Year for "Flowers"

GRAMMYs/Feb 5, 2024 - 04:44 am

Miley Cyrus has won Record of the Year at the 2024 GRAMMYs for her hit “Flowers.”

Accepting the award with her production team, Cyrus was irreverent and self-effacing, especially after having already won her first ever Golden Gramophone for Best Pop Solo Performance earlier in the evening.

“This award is amazing, but I really hope it doesn’t change anything, because my life was beautiful yesterday,” Cyrus said.

The pop singer beat out Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, Jon Batiste, Dua Lipa, SZA, Olivia Rodrigo, and Billie Eilish for the award, which was presented by Mark Ronson and his mother-in-law, the actress Meryl Streep. “Flowers” was a massive commercial hit, debuting at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 and spending eight consecutive weeks in the top spot.

As she finished her speech, during which she thanked her collaborators, their partners, and her fans, Cyrus said “I don’t think I’ve forgotten anyone, but I might’ve forgotten underwear.”

Keep checking this space for more updates from Music’s Biggest Night!

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

Taylor Swift AOTY Win Photo
Taylor Swift accepts Album Of The Year at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


2024 GRAMMYs: Taylor Swift Makes GRAMMY History With Fourth Album Of The Year Win For 'Midnights'

'Midnights' earned Taylor Swift her fourth Album Of The Year win at the 2024 GRAMMYs — the most of any artist of all time.

GRAMMYs/Feb 5, 2024 - 04:42 am

Taylor Swift has made GRAMMY history once again.

The pop superstar won the GRAMMY for Album Of The Year for Midnights at the 2024 GRAMMYs, marking her fourth win in the Category — the most Album Of The Year wins of any artist at the GRAMMYs. (She had been tied with Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon.) 

Swift was shocked as she accepted the award, bringing up her producer Jack Antonoff — who had already won the GRAMMY for Producer of the Year — and collaborator Lana Del Rey, who was also nominated for Album Of The Year for Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. She acknowledged both in her acceptance speech, calling Antonoff "a once in a generation producer" and Del Rey "a legacy artist, a legend in her prime right now." 

She continued, "I would love to tell you that this is the best moment of my life, but I feel this happy when I finish a song, or when I crack to code to a bridge I love, or when I'm shortlisting a music video, or when I'm rehearsing with my dancers or my band, or getting ready to go to Tokyo to play a show. For me the award is the work. All I wanna do is keep being able to do this. I love it so much, it makes me so happy." 

The 66th GRAMMY Awards were already a big night for Swift before her Album Of The Year victory. Midnights won Best Pop Vocal Album earlier in the telecast, marking her 13th win; as Swifties know, 13 is Swift's lucky number because of her Dec. 13 birthday.

And at the 2024 GRAMMYs, it was her lucky number indeed: along with making history, Swift used her first win to announce a brand-new album. Swift will release her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, on April 19.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

All Things Taylor Swift

Victoria Monét
Victoria Monét

Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images


2024 GRAMMYs: Victoria Monét Wins The GRAMMY For Best New Artist

Victoria Monét beats Gracie Abrams, Fred again.., Ice Spice, Jelly Roll, Coco Jones, Noah Kahan, and The War And Treaty.

GRAMMYs/Feb 5, 2024 - 04:22 am

Victoria Monét has won Best New Artist at the 66th GRAMMY Awards.

Tearfully accepting the award, the rising R&B star gave an eloquent speech in which she compared herself to a plant growing out of the soil of the music industry. 

“My roots have been growing underneath ground, unseen, for so long, and I feel like today I’m sprouting, finally above ground,” she said.

Monét beat out Gracie Abrams, Fred again.., Ice Spice, Jelly Roll, Coco Jones, Noah Kahan, and The War and Treaty for the award. It was given out by last year’s winner, Samara Joy.

She really puts in the work and she is being rewarded now more than ever for it," producer D'Mile, who has known Monét since the beginning of her career, recently told "She grows more and more confident and sure about what she's aiming for as she continues her journey."

This was not Monét’s first win. Her album Jaguar II won Best Engineered Album and Best R&B Album earlier in the day during the GRAMMYs Premiere Ceremony.

Keep checking this space for more updates from Music’s Biggest Night!

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List