The Recording Academy has addressed the conflicts of interest in the Grammy Awards nomination committee and made several changes to the awards categories. While "urban" has been dropped from the major award category, eligibility criteria for "Best New Artist" has been changed.

As per the changes made to the categories on Wednesday, "urban" has been dropped as a major category and replaced with "progressive." "Best Rap/Sung Performance" is now "Best Melodic Rap Performance." The new rules will be implemented from the 63rd annual Grammy Awards next year, which will be broadcast live on January 31, according to the website.

The "Best New Artist" is one of the most controversial categories in the Grammys, as it only allows artists with sizable catalogs to be eligible for the title, thus causing the award to go to seasoned artists who are decidedly not new instead of those who have just made a debut. It also affected younger artists, specifically rappers, who had released many singles and could not qualify in recent years because they surpassed the 30-song limit.

Announcing the changes, Recording Academy confirmed that anyone can receive the "Best New Artist" category title as it will no longer be held to a "specified maximum number of releases." Instead, "screening committees will determine whether the artist had attained a breakthrough or prominence prior to the eligibility year."

The rules for the category have been changed on several occasions over the past few decades but remains debatable among fans. The rules were also updated when Lady Gaga missed out on the award in 2010, as she was declared ineligible having already been nominated for Best Dance Recording in 2009. Six years later, the eligibility criteria were amended again "to remove the album barrier given current trends in how new music and developing artists are released and promoted."

According to these rules, the artists "must have released a minimum of five singles/tracks or one album, but no more than 30 singles/tracks or three albums." This is what enabled artists like Chance The Rapper and Dua Lipa to receive the trophies even though they had worked on several projects prior to their nomination.

Alicia Keys pays tribute to Kobe Byrant
Host US singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant at the start of the Grammys. AFP / Robyn Beck

Apart from these changes, the Recording Committee declared that the nomination review committee members will have to sign disclosure forms to prevent conflicts of interest. Musicians invited to participate in a nomination review committee will have to reveal if they would benefit from an artist's nomination by financial, familial, or creative means, and if a conflict is discovered, that person would not be allowed to sit on that committee that year.