In 2018, the Recording Academy increased the number of nominees in the Big Four Grammy categories — album, song and record of the year and best new artist — from five to eight. Then, three years later, it boosted the pool from eight to 10.
These expansions were made to recognize more music creators and to represent more genres, according to the academy — yet for country artists, the benefits have thus far been nonexistent.
For the five Grammy Award nomination cycles (for ceremonies taking place in 2019-2023) since the first increase, there have been 196 total Big Four nominations, yet only six have gone to mainstream country artists or projects, with only one victory: Kacey Musgraves’ album of the year trophy for Golden Hour in 2019. In the five cycles before the increase (2014-2018), country artists scored seven nominations of the far smaller 125 total nods.
For the 65th Grammys, which will take place Feb. 5 in Los Angeles, country music is completely absent from the Big Four.
Genre classification can be blurry, but for this story, Billboard counted nominations that went to an artist or music that appears on Billboard’s Country Airplay, Hot Country Songs and Top Country…