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Under New Grammy Fee Structure, Procrastinators Will Pay More for ‘Excess Entries’

The three payment tiers are "early bird pricing," "standard pricing" and "final deadline pricing," with escalating fees.

The Recording Academy released more details about its fee structure for “excess entries” in a memo to all voting members on Friday (July 1).

As previously announced, all professional and voting members of the academy will be allowed to make five courtesy entries every year as a benefit of membership. But members will have to pay a fee for each entry beyond the five allowed unless they are able to obtain a waiver.

In an effort to get members to make their entries promptly — rather than wait until just before the entry period closes, as people tend to do — the academy has adopted a multi-tier pricing strategy. “Early bird pricing” (July 18 – July 31) is $40 per entry (after the five courtesy entries). “Standard pricing” (Aug. 1 – Aug. 21) is $75 per entry (after the five courtesy entries). “Final deadline pricing” (Aug. 22 to Aug. 31) is $125 per entry (after the five courtesy entries).

Before this year, there was no limit on the number of entries a member could make. The academy instituted a limit of five entries — unless the member is willing to pay the extra charge — this year for the first time.

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In its letter to members, the academy explained its thinking: “The Academy has enacted a per-entry fee structure this year to encourage entrants to consider the value of each entry and make mindful decisions to put forward work that they truly believe is Grammy-worthy… The payment system is built into the OEP [online entry process] website and allows for secure payment by credit card.”

The academy does, however, allow members to appeal the five-entry limit. “In order that the entry fees not be a barrier to entry in the process, our members can request additional courtesy entries by reaching out to the awards department at awards@recordingacademy.com,” the letter reads.

The academy showed similar flexibility the last two years in allowing members to appeal for a waiver of the $100 annual membership dues, if they claimed hardship amid the pandemic. But this year the academy announced that the dues waiver will not be continued for a third year.

The letter to members contained two other newsy items. Among them, for the first time, the academy will let entrants know of the “final placement” of their entries after the screening committees have met but before voting begins.

“In order to improve your voting experience, after our screening committees have met, we will be emailing entrants with the final placement of their entries,” the letter reads. “You will receive this information prior to the first-round ballot, so that you’ll know the final category placement before voting begins.”

The academy must know that this will open the door to last-minute appeals from label executives convinced that their artist is being mis-categorized in the Grammy process. Previously, the academy could say “The ballots have gone out. There’s nothing we can do at this point.” How the academy will handle these last-minute appeals now is unknown.

The letter also specified that there will be only one entry period this year. The academy will open the online entry process for the 65th Annual Grammy Awards at 9 a.m. PST on July 18 and close it on Aug. 31.

Eligible recordings must have been commercially released in the U.S. on one of the approved streaming platforms or through a national third-party retailer (for craft entries) and have been originally released within this eligibility period: Oct. 1, 2021 – Sept. 30, 2022. That is the normal eligibility period, following three consecutive years in which the eligibility period differed from that.

The eligibility year for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards closed one month early, on Aug. 31, 2019. That change was the result of the Grammy telecast being moved up two weeks to Jan. 26, 2020, to avoid going head-to-head with the 92nd annual Academy Awards. The eligibility period for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards also closed one month early, on Aug. 31, 2020. That change was due to the pandemic making the academy’s screening process harder. The eligibility period for the 64rd Annual Grammy Awards covered 13 months, from Sept. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021, as the academy sought to get back on schedule.