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Paul Simon and Carlos Santana Protest New Grammy Rules

Artists claim elimination of categories unfairly targets ethnic music

May 27, 2011 9:40 AM ET
Paul Simon performs in Chicago, May 16, 2011 .
Paul Simon performs in Chicago, May 16, 2011 .
Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

A coalition of musicians including Paul Simon and Carlos Santana are voicing their opposition to the Recording Academy's elimination of more than 30 categories from the Grammy Awards. The artists claim that the Recording Academy unfairly targeted ethnic music in selecting categories for elimination and are demanding that the organization reinstate them.

"I believe the Grammys have done a disservice to many talented musicians by combining previously distinct and separate types of music into a catch-all of blurry larger categories," Simon wrote in a letter to Grammy president and CEO Neil Portnow. "They deserve the separate Grammy acknowledgements that they've been afforded until this change eliminated them."

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Portnow insists that the cuts in the number of categories is not limited to non-mainstream and ethnic music. "In this year's awards there were 34 mainstream categories. Next year there will be 20 mainstream categories. In non-mainstream categories there were 71. In the upcoming 54th awards, there will be 54," he told the Associated Press. The Academy has consolidated several categories, most notably by doing away with gender-based categories in pop, R&B, country and rock.

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