11:41 am - 10/18/2018

BTS Submitted To The Grammys. Here's What That Means.

BTS has submitted to the Grammys, making them, as far as my research is taking me, the first K-Pop artists to submit anything for nomination consideration.

Love Yourself: Tear has been submitted to Album of the Year and Pop Album.

"Fake Love" has been submitted to Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Music Video (formerly Short Form Video).

Because this is the kind of news that can be easily misinterpreted, I thought I'd write up an FAQ to properly contextualize this. (Also I’m a nerd and live for this shit.) I have been following the Grammys since about 2010 and was a former Grammy predictor for an awards blog, so please feel free to ask me questions in the comments as well.

Submissions and nominations are not the same thing, for starters. BTS has not been Grammy-approved yet, calm down.

Although this is from the 2018 Grammys, this FAQ runs down exactly how the submission and nomination process works. Basically:

- Your song and album must have come out between Oct. 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018.
- Your song must be commercially available in the United States in some form (physicals, digital, etc.).
- Members and registered media companies submit artists, albums, and songs for consideration.
- This submission list is where nominations are culled from.

What’s the difference between Song of the Year and Record of the Year?
The most popular question regarding the Grammys and one that I still screw up sometimes. Record of the Year is designed to reward an artist and a producers for a given song. Song of the Year rewards the songwriter. Typically, this is why you see more Adult Contemporary songs in SOTY.

Lemme stop you there. All this means is that their PR department and Big Hit saw a potential to win a non-fan-voted award and submitted themselves for consideration. That’s it. It’s a step that no other agency has taken, granted, but it just means they have a shrewder marketing department. (Given that I just bought a cup with a stamp and a light on it because it was a BT21 product, I feel like we all knew their marketing department was something else already.)

Can I vote for this? #BTSForGrammys #GrammyTan Sonyeondan #BTSAOTY
No you cannot. Industry insiders, Grammy members, and prior nominees and winners vote for the Grammys.

But [Other K-Pop Artist] is so much better, I can’t believe BTS is in over them, rawr rawr rawr
This announcement literally has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with the teams that other K-Pop artists have behind them. You cannot be nominated if you do not submit. Period. I can see the door opening for other companies to submit if BTS is successful in garnering a nomination, though, so I think overall this is a net gain for K-Pop, regardless of how you feel about Tear/“Fake Love”.

So why wasn’t [Other K-Pop Artist] nominated in the past?
One of two things:

1) They did not submit their music for Grammy consideration. (YG should have submitted “Gangnam Style”, for instance; they did not.)
2) Their music was not available through a US distribution platform. This really isn’t an issue anymore with iTunes and streaming services but very much was an issue in the past.

Why submit Tear and not Answer/Her?
Because Her and Answer have “Dimple” on them and we cannot tolerate that shit

Real answer: Her was released in the prior eligibility period, and is therefore ineligible for awards in this period. It could have been submitted for 2018 consideration, but was not. (This is why it’s inaccurate to say BTS was snubbed last year – you can’t be snubbed if you don’t actually try to be nominated.)

Answer, on the other hand, is what the Grammys would consider a “compilation album”, similar to a Greatest Hits release. These have never been eligible for Grammys.

Why “Fake Love” over [“Mic Drop”/“Don’t Leave Me”/“IDOL”/“Singularity”/“Epiphany”/ “Euphoria”]/Why didn’t they submit more songs?
This is a matter of strategy – you can submit as many songs as you want from an eligibility period. (Kacey Musgraves, I’ve just heard, basically submitted every song on her album in different categories this year, as has Drake.) There is an advantage to submitting a ton of songs, but there is also an advantage to making voters focus on just one single track. I think for BTS, submitting one song in the major categories, especially the one that’s their biggest Billboard hit and marked their true explosion onto the US market, makes the most sense.

Also don’t quote me on this, but “Mic Drop” may not have been eligible anyways, given that its original version was released in September 2017. (The remix came out in November, which is why I say “don’t quote me”.)

Why was BTS not submitted for Best New Artist?
In 2017, the rules for Best New Artist were changed so that artists who a) have more than 30 tracks OR b) more than 3 albums to their name are ineligible for Best New Artist, in addition to pre-existing vague rules about when a band came to “prominence”. (Post Malone has been ineligible for two years straight because the Grammys argue that his 2013 album Stoney came to prominence). While some (myself included) were hoping that BTS only having 3 albums/under 30 songs with American distribution might sneak them into the category, they’ve been rejected. (I have many feelings about why these rules were instituted conveniently as a large crop of rap artists have been coming up, considering the industry is based on people pumping out tracks and collaborating left and right, and was not instituted after decades-old band fun. won the award in 2013, but that’s another topic.)

If they release a song in their Burn the Stage movie, will it be eligible?
Next year, maybe. Also maybe for the 2018 Oscars. But not for the 2019 Grammys.

Well, here comes my professional opinions, feel free to disagree with me in the comments.

Firstly, I see BTS being nominated somewhere, to get them to show up and perform. Professional reviews of last year’s Grammy ceremony were very critical of the performances outside of Kendrick Lamar, and the Grammys, like all awards shows, are dealing with flagging ratings. Where they get nominated is another matter entirely – I honestly figured before this submission list that they’d get the My Chemical Romance Honorary Best Album Packaging Nomination and the Grammy committee would use that as an excuse to get them to perform.

Given that they actually are submitting themselves for mainline categories, I’ll go through them one by one.

Categories with Five Nominees

Best Music Video - This is their best chance at a nomination. The Visual Media branch of the Grammys is very open to nominating cutting-edge or unknown artists for Music Video (see: “Here It Goes Again” by OK GO winning the award in 2007; consistently nominating Gorillaz videos for their technical achievements; last year’s nomination of “Makeba” by Jain). BTS is very on-brand for the category, and though I think it will have a hard time beating “This is America” for the statue, “Fake Love” should pull through for a nomination here.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - LMFAO no. Just… this will be one of the biggest Grammy upsets in history if they manage to pull a nomination out. Their competition is Ed Sheeran and Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton, a few Cardi B songs, Post Malone and Ty Dolla Sign, Zedd and Maren Morris, Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line, the entire Star is Born soundtrack, the list goes on and on… not happening. It’s the most competitive the category has been in years and is stuffed with Grammy mainstays who won’t break into the main categories.

Pop Album - This is a little sparser than Pop Duo/Group, but still not a likely get. Kelly Clarkson is a perennial Grammy favorite with an album out this year, as is Taylor Swift (quality of that album aside, it sold . Ariana Grande has gotten some of the strongest reviews of her career for Sweetener as well. There are some other albums I can see being priorities before nominating BTS – Post Malone has been exiled to Pop by the Rap committee, so Beerbongs and Bentleys could make an appearance. More traditional artists who tend to clean up at the Grammys, like Josh Groban, have also submitted here. Also playing against it is that it’s not a pop album in a pure sense, with many disparate genre elements that may be harder sells than the above artists.

Categories with Eight Nominees

Record of the Year - Now, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year have 8 slots, based on a new rule implemented this year. This changes things a bit, but as far as Record of the Year is concerned, it doesn’t change things much. Buzz and sales play a huge part in how well an artist does in mainline categories, and while BTS had a year, they didn’t have the kind of year that, say, Camila Cabello’s “Havana” did (which is being submitted in a live version here). ROTY is meant to award production and performance, which are BTS’ strengths, but there are many bigger hits with the same strengths. Also a factor – “Fake Love” is a rock-oriented song, and those do not tend to get much traction in ROTY or SOTY beyond a token nom. This year, Imagine Dragons will likely take that token nom.

Song of the Year - Not likely either. This category recognizes songwriting, which results in some interesting choices that lean more Adult Contemporary than alternative pop. This category also has a lot of the heavy Pop favorites submitting, like Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry”. Finally, if the Grammys want to nominate a song similar to “Fake Love”, “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer is a similarly constructed track that is rising rapidly on the charts and has outsold “Fake Love” considerably.

Album of the Year - I have been waffling on this category, and on my predictions forum, slotted Tear into AOTY as a major outside chance 8th nom. I’m still waffling heavily on this, but I’m leaning yes for a few reasons:
- A Blue Ribbon Panel determines the nominees for AOTY, and takes into consideration multiple factors surrounding an album. They are widely seen to be the reason that Lorde got her AOTY nomination last year. A few friends of mine have mentioned that if journalists had input into nominations, the historical precedent alone of a Korean band being this successful stateside while singing in Korean would probably earn them a nomination in AOTY. I think it’s a factor that will be overlooked in the Pop categories (which do not have this Blue Ribbon Panel, but doesn’t make sense to factor in for mainline categories.
- Tear is moving physicals in an era where that hardly ever happens – not Taylor Swift level numbers, but enough to be noticeable.
- Those disparate genre elements I mentioned as being a point against them in Pop will be an easier sell in an open field, especially one of eight as opposed to one of five.

This is probably wishful thinking on my part. Honestly, Music Video will likely be their sole nomination, but the Grammys are super weird. They once gave a Herbie Hancock cover album the AOTY win – not just the nomination, the WIN.

I look forward to seeing where this particular roller-coaster ends with y’all!

SOURCE: NuCat on Gold Derby - Mods, this user has been providing accurate Grammy submission information for years, as it is otherwise not reported. Let me know if this is acceptable!
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vintage_boom 18th-Oct-2018 09:18 pm (UTC)
I can see them getting nominated for Pop Duo/Group Performance and Music Video. whether they win idk

my fave thing about Psy not being nominated (which was a shame) were all the Beiber stans who can't read and went on a tirade wondering why he was and Beiber wasn't.
tangentially related: that 5sos song really took off I'm surprised tbh didn't think they'd recover from falling on their own sword

Edited at 2018-10-18 09:21 pm (UTC)
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 09:27 pm (UTC)
I think "it's an honor to be nominated" is basically where their Grammy chances are. I really feel like the competition in Pop Duo/Group is too strong to give way to them (just found out that 5SOS is also going Pop which basically puts the final nail in that coffin), but who knows.

Also that 5SOS song is just too fucking good to ignore. It's also still rising in airplay and has consistently sold. I'm not seeing many predictions for Grammys for it but it seems like folly to not account for it.
rosevael 18th-Oct-2018 09:19 pm (UTC)
Damn spectacular write up. Thank you.
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 09:28 pm (UTC)
Of course!! <3
goshipgurl 18th-Oct-2018 10:09 pm (UTC)
this post is really helpful! i remember fans were talking about bighit trying to get BTS a grammy nom when their album dropped. i'm not sure if they'll make it (they haven't really been nominated for any other awards in the US outside the social media categories iirc), but if they do - good luck!
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:22 pm (UTC)
Part of their lack of nominations in other awards shows are connected to them not having radio play. A Grammy nomination usually changes that for artists. (Unless you perform jazz. Then you're just kind of screwed.)

I will say their new US and international management is AMAZING. I am certain they are the reason BTS submitted - God knows Gramaphone wasn't pushing them to do that last year.
mc1a 18th-Oct-2018 10:13 pm (UTC)
Mmmmmm tea 🍵
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:22 pm (UTC)
Love drinking tea with you dear ☕
honeebs 18th-Oct-2018 10:16 pm (UTC)
Good for them.
And thank you for this info
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:23 pm (UTC)
No problem! Like I said, I'm a nerd who lives for this nonsense.
ohbubbajoan 18th-Oct-2018 10:30 pm (UTC)
this is a very interesting read, OP, thanks for explain so much. i hope they get at least a nom
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:25 pm (UTC)
Any time! I hope so too. If I can go into opinion, K-pop music videos at the very least are always about 300x more creative and vibrant than American ones. At the very least, BTS deserves to be nominated for making some incredible music videos. (I am also really pulling for Tyler the Creator's "See You Again" in that category.)
lostintheechoes 18th-Oct-2018 11:00 pm (UTC)
this is great op! not many people know how the grammys operate, took me awhile myself.


youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:32 pm (UTC)
The Grammys truly are baffling. That's whats always made them fun (and infuriating) to me.

Prophet Yoongi strikes again!
existingisfunny 18th-Oct-2018 11:11 pm (UTC)
the Grammys will throw them a bone so they can attend but i doubt they'll get a big win from an institution that already fails american artists of color
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:31 pm (UTC)
If Pulitzer Prize Winner Kendrick Lamar can't win AOTY in this weak year...
snowphone 18th-Oct-2018 11:12 pm (UTC)
not here for this dimple slander lol.

thank you for the post, op!
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:33 pm (UTC)

<3 thank you!!
lydzi 18th-Oct-2018 11:24 pm (UTC)
Stellar post op ♥♥♥♥
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:33 pm (UTC)
Aww you're welcome!! <3
goshipgurl 18th-Oct-2018 11:37 pm (UTC)
OP what are the chances of taylor swift getting a grammy nom? you know she's itching for one.
youtubelargo 18th-Oct-2018 11:43 pm (UTC)
I think she's a lock for AOTY and Pop Albun. I'm not sure what she submitted for SOTY/ROTY, but "Look..." is ineligible. If she submits "Delicate", I say give her the mainline sweep. (She should check if New Taylor is eligible for BNA. Since the Old Taylor is dead, you know.)

Reputation is a garbage album but it sold 4.5 million copies in 2018. It won't be ignored.
u_know 18th-Oct-2018 11:45 pm (UTC)
It would be cool if BTS got to perform or something, it would probably boost the show’s viewer numbers too considering all the award shows just aren’t being watched like they used to be.
youtubelargo 19th-Oct-2018 02:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think that factor won't be lost on the Grammy board. Additionally, you can't purchase tickets to the Grammys, so it's the best of both worlds - rating-boosting performance without dealing with the eardrum-splitting shrieking.
rosiemotleymind 19th-Oct-2018 12:16 am (UTC)
Even just performing would be a huge milestone for them tbh. But for nominations I don't trust anyone who decides the repeatedly white winners ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
lightframes 19th-Oct-2018 02:39 am (UTC)
Kendrick should just stop going imo
shuumi_miss 19th-Oct-2018 12:19 am (UTC)
Such an interesting post, OP! I never understood how the Grammys work so, this is very helpful.

From my point of view, they might get the MV nomination, which is (from my point of view) one of their strengths, but other than that, I don't think so. Even Album of the year sounds like a big wish, but who knows.
youtubelargo 19th-Oct-2018 02:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know AOTY is such a pipe dream, but I have to be slightly irrational, right?
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