Grammy official explains why a K-pop category is unlikely to happen anytime soon

The Academy only received 14 K-pop submissions last year

A Grammy official has explained why K-pop is unlikely to get its own category anytime soon.

The Recording Academy, which presents the annual Grammy Awards, occasionally adds new categories to the awards ceremony. The most recent additions are Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album, which were announced on April 30 and will be introduced next year during the 64th Grammy Awards.

But according to Bill Freimuth, the chief awards officer at the Recording Academy, a K-pop-only category seems unlikely to happen in the near future. Speaking to Billboard, the Grammy official said that both he and the “community” find it hard to define Korean music enough from ordinary pop music to justify its own category.


“The way I see it, modern K-pop really started in the ’90s. They took what was popular during that era [such as R&B and bubblegum pop] and made it their own,” he said. “What we’ve heard from the community is that they consider what they are creating to be pop music.”

In addition, Freimuth also points out that the process for adding a new category is “quite formal”, requiring detailed proposals and several rounds of approval and ratification by different committees and boards.

As Billboard also noted, potential categories require around 100 potential submissions for a “strong chance” of consideration. However, The Recording Academy only received 14 K-pop submissions last year, which is well below the expected mark.

But despite the unlikelihood of a K-pop category, Freimuth said that the Academy would “love to see more”. He added: “We appreciate that the Grammys are so important to them.”

Last November, BTS became the first-ever K-pop act to receive a Grammy nomination. The boyband’s hit 2020 single ‘Dynamite’ was up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the recent 63rd Grammy Awards, but ultimately lost out to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s ‘Rain On Me’ collab.