Here's the Difference Between Record, Song, and Album of the Year at the Grammys

Sure, the Grammy Awards seem simple. Your favorite artists win some hardware for their best bops, and everyone wears sparkly outfits. But if you actually pay attention to the award categories, you’ll prob realize that it’s not so straightforward. There are three separate awards for the Record, Song, and Album of the Year, and TBH, it’s all kinds of confusing. Here is what those award categories actually mean.

Song of the Year

This is definitely the most deceptively obvious award. It sounds like it just goes to the best jam of the year, but it’s slightly more complicated than that. Song of the Year is actually a songwriter award for the single or track that was released during the eligibility period, which for the 61st Grammy Awards is October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018. This year’s nominees include:

Record of the Year

At the Grammys, a record is not a vinyl you bought at Urban Outfitters and have yet to actually play. Here, “record” means a single track. This award honors the artist for their performance and the work of the producers, recording engineers, mastering engineers, and mixers. These are the records nominated this year:

Album of the Year

Album of the Year is the award for a whole-ass album. To be eligible, it has to have at least five new full songs and be 15 minutes long or be 30 minutes long, with as many damn tracks as it wants. The award goes to artist, as well as any featured artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, and mixers. Here are the albums in the running:

To sum it all up…

Song of the Year is for the writing of a single track. Record of the Year is for the performance and production of a single track. Album of the Year is for a full album.

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