Normally, award shows’ votes are cast via paper ballots. Some have switched to new online systems, but many key ceremonies have chosen to stick with this age-old method of choosing winners, including the Grammys. But today as per a report out of the LA Times, Academy executives have announced the elimination of paper ballots in favor of a new online voting system for casting votes towards nominations for the Grammys. The change will take place immediately, therefore allowing potential voters to cast ballots before the 60th Grammy Awards which will occur January 28th next year.
“It’s been something we’ve been talking about for many years, and looking forward to the day when this has arrived,” said Bill Freimuth, the Academy’s senior vice president of awards.
So why switch to an online voting system? The Academy hopes to attract larger crowds of voters as they can cast ballots from wherever they are straight from their laptop, tablet, or even smartphone. Typically, younger audiences use these utilities each day. So naturally, the Academy wants to go after these folks especially as they’re the ones listening to music on their phones all day, hearing about the latest artists, and engaging in the music industry in a connected, digital way. This is obviously the new generation, so it makes sense to adapt to the current times.
By aiming to attract younger crowds who tend to always be in the know with the latest tracks, the Grammys hopes to defeat cultural biases based on fan favorite artists and popular albums. For instance, back in 2014, Macklemore won Best Rap Album for The Heist, beating out Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid M.A.A.D. City which resulted in an apology from the winner. Even Adele at last year’s Grammy Awards stated “My album of the year is Lemonade” when she won Best Album for 25, telling everyone she thoroughly enjoyed Beyoncé’s latest album. Clearly, people seem to believe the less-obvious candidates for Grammy awards are more deserving rather the Adeles and Bruno Marses of the world. Not that either of these two artists isn’t worthy because they certainly are, but they are more favored in the way that they’re all you hear on the radio and would expect to win awards all night long during award ceremonies.
Of course, with anything happening online as major as the Grammy Awards comes the risk of security. “Security was always a major issue, because it could become a target for hackers,” said Freimuth. But in his words, they’re “buttoned up as much as [they] possibly could be along those lines.” Let’s just hope no one hacks in and makes Justin Bieber win every award of the night. Even the one for Best Comedy Album.