By Brad Wete
Updated April 06, 2011 at 09:40 PM EDT

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The Recording Academy, whose annual Grammy Awards “recognize excellence in music,” announced earlier today that they’ve cut the amount of categories used to acknowledge that greatness to 78.

The top always-televised awards—Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist—were not touched.

But several existing categories have merged. R&B took one of the hardest hits, being cut in half to four. And male, female, and group R&B Vocal Performance awards are now one: R&B Performance. Like rhythm and blues, a new award for Rock Performance replaces awards for Rock Solo Vocal Performance and Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

After explaining that the amount of categories has grown from 1959’s 29 to last February’s chubby 109, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said the changes were met with “some pretty passionate discomfort” from a few musicians.

And rightfully so. With the pool drained, competition is going to be at a high in those rock and R&B branches, among others. Folks are going to be left out.

What do you think of the academy’s decision? Watch Portnow’s entire announcement and learn of other adjustments and changes here.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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