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Entertainment Weekly


Why Taylor Swift and Sam Smith's albums aren't up for Grammys

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

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Taylor Swift and Sam Smith both topped Billboard‘s albums chart with their recent full-lengths. Both pop artists have received major awards from the Recording Academy, from Swift’s two Album of the Year nods to Smith’s 2015 haul of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. Yet neither of their new albums were recognized when the Recording Academy announced the 2018 slate of Grammy nominees on Tuesday morning.

Swift and Smith’s exclusions weren’t oversights or proof that voters dislike Reputation or The Thrill of It All — the absences actually owe to the odd timeframe the awards operate under. Usually slated for either January or February, the Grammys don’t actually honor the entirety of the previous year’s releases. Instead, the timeframe of eligibility spans Oct. 1 of the year two years before the year of a given Grammys to Sept. 30 of the year preceding a given Grammys. For example: The 2018 Grammys occur Jan. 28, 2018, and eligibility for the awards show goes from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017.

That means that The Thrill of It All and Reputation, which dropped Nov. 3 and 10, respectively, are ineligible in 2018. However, singles from those albums — Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” (Sept. 8) and Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” (Aug. 24) and “…Ready for It?” (Sept. 3) — were eligible but did not receive nods. On the bright side for Swift, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (‘Fifty Shades Darker’),” Swift’s duet with ZAYN for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, is nominated for Best Song Written For Visual Media, and “Better Man,” performed by Little Big Town, is up for Best Country Song.

Because she’s released all her albums between the dates of Oct. 22 and Nov. 11, Swift has personal experience with this phenomenon. Her second album, Fearless, dropped in November 2008 but didn’t win Album of the Year until early 2010; likewise, her fifth album, 1989, hit shelves in late October 2014 but won Album of the Year in early 2016.

Simultaneously, albums from late 2016 — including Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic (Nov. 18, 2016) and Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love! (Dec. 2, 2016) — will be eligible at the upcoming Grammys. And Taylor and Sam: We’ll (likely) see you in 2019.