The Recording Academy has announced major changes to the rules and regulations as it relates to voting process of the Grammy Awards.

In a press release, the organization announced that they have eliminated paper ballots and are moving forward with online voting. This would allow the 13,000 voting members greater flexibility when casting votes, plus protects against any fraudulent voting.

"When I met younger voters and talked about the ballots going out in the U.S. mail, I got eye-rolls and sighs," Recording Academy SVP of awards Bill Freimuth tells Billboard. "It was frustrating for us to lose a segment of voters because they were on the road."

Elsewhere, music creatives (songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers, mastering engineers, featured artists) credited with at least one-third of playing time on a project that wins Album of the Year will also receive a golden gramophone trophy as well. Freimuth said there was no reason the organization didn’t implement this rule much earlier.

There were also changes in the music categories as well.

Nominations Review Committees have been created for the Rap, Contemporary Instrumental and New Age Fields. Theses groups will vet the nominations to eliminate the potential of just only having big-name artists get nominations. Freimuth believes that up-and-coming and independent artists often get shut out of the nomination process due to popularity bias. He feels with the Nominations Review Committees in place, it will level the playing field for all artists.

The eligibility window for artists to get nominated for the 2018 Grammy Awards is Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017. Afterward, the first-round ballot period will take place Oct. 16–29, 2017, with the final-round ballot period set for Dec. 7–21, 2017.

The 2018 Grammy Awards will air live from New York's Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. ET.

2017 Summer Festival Guide