The Weeknd said he still plans to boycott the Grammys after the Recording Academy announced it would get rid of the “secret committees” that, for years, finalized the nominees for major categories.
The Recording Academy announced its rule change Friday, April 30th, saying the categories decided by the “Nominations Review Committees” (“15-30 highly skilled music peers who represented and voted within their genre communities”) would now be “determined by a majority, peer-to-peer vote of voting members of the Recording Academy.”
In a statement provided to The New York Times Monday, May 3rd, in response to the rule change, the Weeknd said, “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.”
In a separate interview with Variety, the Weeknd expressed caution over the rule change: “The trust has been broken for so long between the Grammy organization and artists that it would be unwise to raise a victory flag,”
He continued, “I think the industry and public alike need to see the transparent system truly at play for the win to be celebrated, but it’s an important start. I remain uninterested in being a part of the Grammys, especially with their own admission of corruption for all these decades. I will not be submitting in the future.”
The “secret committees” gained significant notoriety in 2020. Last January, ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan called out corruption at the Grammys in an Equal Opportunity Commission complaint, which claimed, “members of the board [of trustees] and the secret committees chose artists with whom they have personal or business relationships.” Then in November, after his hit album, After Hours, and single, “Blinding Lights,” received zero nominations, the Weeknd blamed the “corrupt” voting body at the Grammys and demanded transparency. This past March, ahead of the 2021 Grammys, the Weeknd issued a statement, saying, “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”
Along with getting rid of the secret committees, the Recording Academy said it would further alter the Grammys voting process to include a 10-category and three-field limit on what members can vote on (the previous category limit was 15). The organization also confirmed that more than 90 percent of members will go through a “requalification process by the end of this year, ensuring that the voting body is actively engaged in music creation.”