Submitting Eligible Recordings
Members of the Recording Industry Association of America and record companies submit recordings and music videos that have been released during the eligiblity year. The eligibility year for the 2012 awards is October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011.
Over 150 experts in a variety of music fields review entered recordings to make sure they meet the eligibility requirements and that they are placed in the proper categories for award consideration. This is the point at which it is determined whether a recording is rock or jazz, pop or Latin, country or dance, etc.
Ballots are sent to voting members of the association with lists of all of the eligible recordings in various fields. Members are instructed to vote only in their fields of expertise and in only 9 out of a total of 31 fields represented. The fields include Pop, Rock, Latin, Country, Jazz, etc. All voting members may select nominees in each of the 4 general categories - Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. Some categories are reserved for special nominating committees.
To become a voting member of the association an individual must be a music industry professional with creative or technical credits on six commercially released tracks (or their equivalent). These may include vocalists, conductors, songwriters, composers, engineers, producers, instrumentalists, arrangers, art directors, album notes writers, narrators and music video artists and technicians.
Special Nominating Committees
Some craft and specialized categories are reserved from the general nominations voting. These nominees are selected by national nominating committees selected from among active members of the association in chapter cities.
Ballots are sent to voting members of the association with the final nominees in all categories. Members are allowed to vote for the selections to win awards in up to 20 categories plus the 4 general categories.
Winners of the awards are not known until envelopes containing the names of winners are opened at the presentation ceremonies.