The Grammys Introduce Best Song For Social Change Award

The Grammys Introduce Best Song For Social Change Award

The Recording Academy is introducing several awards to the 2023 Grammys.

On Thursday, the governing body behind the ceremony revealed the 65th annual ceremony will feature five new categories, including for Best Alternative Music Performance, Best Spoken Word Poetry Album and Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media.

However, most of the buzz is surrounding two specific honors, with the first being Best Song for Social Change. Chosen by "a Blue Ribbon Committee and ratified by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees," this Special Merit Award is focused on songs featuring lyrical content pertaining to a current social issue in a way that "promotes understanding, peacebuilding and empathy."

According to the New York Timesthough, the most significant new award is for Songwriter of the Year, which "recognizes the written excellence, profession and art of songwriting" across non-classical compositions. As we all know, Song of the Year has always been one of the most notable prizes at music's biggest night, though songwriters have been asking the Academy for an award honoring their contributions.

In response to this request, the Academy added songwriters on the ballot for Album of the Year in 2018. At the time, only songwriters who contributed at least 33% to a record were able to be listed, though this requirement was scrapped for this year's Grammys. This means any credited songwriter can be a nominee, even if the songwriters behind samples used in the winning work aren't eligible.

“The intent with this new category is to recognize the professional songwriters who write songs for other artists to make a living,” Recording Academy Chief Executive, Harvey Mason Jr., said in a statement. “This dedicated award highlights the importance of songwriting’s significant contribution to the musical process, and as a non-performing songwriter myself, I’m thrilled to see this award come to life.”

These five new awards come after the Academy dropped gendered categories in 2011 in addition to several awards within classical and Latin categories. However, the Grammys also recently added two new awards, namely for Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album.

Read the New York Times' entire report here.

Photo via Getty / Gabriel Bouys / AFP