List of Grammy Award categories

The Grammy Awards are awarded in a series of categories, each of which isolate a specific contribution to the recording industry. The standard awards list nominees in each category from which a winner is selected. 28 Grammys were awarded in the first award ceremony, but the number of awards has grown and fluctuated over time as new categories are added and some older ones removed, at one time over 100 awards were given.[1]

Special awards

There are special awards which are awarded without nominations, typically for achievements of longer than the past year, which the standard awards apply to:

General Field

The General Field (also known as the 'Big Four') are four standard awards for musical works which do not restrict nominees by genre or some other criterion:

2016 Grammy Awards

As of the 2016 ceremony, there are 83 categories, not including special awards.

Contemporary Instrumental
Musical Theatre
Music for Visual Media
Surround Sound

No longer awarded


Changes in the 2010s


On April 6, 2011 the Recording Academy announced a major overhaul of many Grammy Award categories.[2] In 2012, the number of categories fell from 109 to 78. Some categories were discontinued, others were merged or renamed.


On June 8, 2012, the Academy announced a few changes as of 2013, including the addition of three new categories: Best Classical Compendium, Best Latin Jazz Album and Best Urban Contemporary Album. This meant the number of categories in 2013 rose to 81.

According to the Academy, the Best Classical Compendium is "for an album collection containing (...) newly recorded material of performances (vocal or instrumental) by various soloist(s) and/or ensemble(s) involving a mixture of classical subgenres."[3] Albums entered in this category cannot be entered in other classical album categories, but individual tracks can.

The intent for the newly formed Best Latin Jazz Album is "to recognize recordings that represent the blending of jazz with Latin, Iberian-American, Brazilian, and Argentinean tango music."[2]

The new Best Urban Contemporary Album category is for albums with contemporary songs derivative of R&B. It is for artists who blend contemporary styles with R&B music, such as urban (euro)pop, urban rock and/or urban alternative.

Other changes for the 2013 Grammy Award season were:


From 2014, there will be further changes. One is the introduction of a new category, Best American Roots Song, which will encompass all of the subgenres in the American Roots Music field such as Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk and regional roots music. The award will be presented to the songwriter(s). The Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category, introduced in 2012, will be split and will recognise metal performances only. Hence it will be renamed Best Metal Performance (returning to the situation prior to 2012). Hard rock performances will now be screened in the Best Rock Performance category, thus losing its own genre award. The two Music Video categories will be renamed. The Best Short Form Music Video will become the Best Music Video category, while the Best Long Form Music Video will now be known as Best Music Film. The rules and description of these two categories will not change. Also new for 2014 is the Music Educator Award per the Grammy Website " recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools..."[4]


The Recording Academy introduced further changes beginning on the 2015 ceremony: particularly allowing samples or interpolations of previously written songs in all songwriting categories, most notably the Song of the Year category.[5] Additional changes include:

The introduction of the changed will push the total number of categories to 83.[5]


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