The Washington Post

Grammys by the numbers

How do the Grammys whittle down nearly 20,000 submitted recordings to the roughly 10 awards you can expect to see on Sunday night’s telecast? Here’s a glimpse into this year’s voting process.

View Photo Gallery: The nominations for the 54th annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles.

An immeasurable number

. . . of recordings are released to the public each year.

17,500+ submissions

This year’s number of submissions. Academy members and record companies submit eligible recordings released during the eligibility period, between Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2011. More than 300 experts sort the recordings into appropriate categories.

14,400 recordings

. . . on first-round ballots, sent to 12,000-plus voting NARAS members who are directed to vote in areas of their expertise in up to 20 categories, plus the four general categories.

390 nominations

First-round voting pares the field down to this number that includes about 780 individual nominees.

78 awards

The final votes are tallied and 78 awards are given out on Grammy night.

10 awards broadcast

Not all of the awards are handed out during the live telecast. Last year, viewers saw 10.


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Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about David Bowie's legacy of reinvention, Beyoncé's Super Bowl victory, viral go-go covers and rock star death waves.

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