All Grammys are created equal, at least theoretically. An artist’s lifetime Grammy Awards tally makes no distinction between, say, record of the year and best regional roots music album.
Those examples weren’t plucked at random. Record of the year is the most crowded category on this year’s Grammy entry list, with 1,463 entries. Best regional roots music album is this year’s least crowded category (excluding classical and craft categories), with just 41 entries.
Not surprisingly, the most crowded categories are record, song and album of the year — three of the vaunted Big Four categories. The fourth of Big Four categories — best new artist — has 343 entries this year, which makes it the 15th most crowded category this year.
Here are this year’s 10 most and 10 least crowded categories, followed by their number of entries this year.
This Year’s 10 Most Crowded Categories:
Record of the year, 1,463
Song of the year, 1,443
Album of the year, 1,225
Best music video, 1,175
Best rock performance, 476
Best engineered album, non-classical, 472
Best instrumental composition, 446
Best American roots performance, 433
Best rock song, 418
Best dance recording, 404
This Year’s 10 Least Crowded Categories:
Best regional roots music album, 41
Best gospel album, 42
Best musical theater album, 45
Best large jazz ensemble album, 50
Best tropical Latin album, 53
Best Latin or rock alternative album, 54
Best compilation soundtrack for visual media, 55
Best bluegrass album, 60
Best roots gospel album, 64
Best Latin jazz album, 66
The entry lists are the lists from which voting members of the Recording Academy made their choices in first-round voting, which ran from Sept. 30 to Oct. 12. Final-round voting, in which voting members select their favorite from the five to eight nominees in each category, runs from Dec. 7 to Jan. 4.
The nominations in six highly specialized craft categories are determined by committees. These six categories were not included on the first-round ballot: best recording package, best boxed or special limited edition package, best album notes, best historical album, best remixed recording and best immersive audio album.