Grammy Web site unites voters, contenders

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When it came time to review Grammy nominations in the late 1970s and early 1980s, NARAS voters could head to their local Recording Academy chapter and review the songs on vinyl. For the 52nd annual Grammys, all they have to do is click a link provided on the Grammy Web site to get immediate access to digital versions.

"If you didn't already own an album, you used to have to go out and search for it on your own," says 20-year Grammy voter Bongo Bob Smith, CEO of Bongo Post and Music. "We're all living in an online world right now, and going digital is helpful because it speeds up the process."

That is only fitting given that digital releases have created an uptick in the overall number of song entries submitted for consideration; indeed, over the span of the previous five years, there has been a 25% increase in the number of entries, according to NARAS vp awards Bill Freimuth.

By partnering with such companies as Yahoo and iTunes, NARAS has made digital files available to voters for the past three years, but this Grammy season marks the first time it is bringing the process in-house.

"With the advent of digital recordings and the digital world, we have to make sure we're not only current but ahead of the curve," NARAS president Neil Portnow says. "Voting members will have access to a section of Grammy.com where they'll have to input their secret codes. An educated voter is a good voter, and we want to give them the best opportunity to make those judgments by listening to everything they can."
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