The Grammy Awards, presented by the Recording Academy to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry, has added a new category (opens in new tab) for its 2023 event dedicated solely to videogames.
The Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media, as it's formally known, will recognize "excellence in score soundtrack albums comprised predominately of original scores and created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current videogame or other interactive media released within the qualification period." It's one of five new categories added for the 2023 Grammy Awards, which also includes Songwriter of the Year (Non-Classical), Best Alternative Music Performance, Best Americana Performance, and Best Spoken Word Poetry Album.
A new addition to the 65th #GRAMMYs, the Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media Category will award #Composers championing musical innovation in gaming.📲 https://t.co/hYKasZLRJT pic.twitter.com/OXbZvZkNEeJune 9, 2022
"We're so excited to honor these diverse communities of music creators through the newly established awards and amendments, and to continue cultivating an environment that inspires change, progress and collaboration," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. (opens in new tab) said. "The Academy's top priority is to effectively represent the music people that we serve, and each year, that entails listening to our members and ensuring our rules and guidelines reflect our ever-evolving industry."
Videogame music has been a niche fandom for years—my own interest began in 1995 with Mechwarrior 2. (The soundtrack, which is excellent, was stored on the game CD as standard audio tracks, so it could be played in a regular CD player.) Valve took a big step toward making music collecting a mainstream interest in 2020 when it added a new soundtrack category (opens in new tab) to Steam and began selling soundtracks as standalone software rather than DLC, a big boon for folks who like the music but don't necessarily want to spring for a full game to get it.
Don't forget, videogame music already has its first Grammy award. That honor went to Baba Yetu (opens in new tab) more than a decade ago: It won Christopher Tin the award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists in 2011, but was originally composed as the theme song for Civilization 4 in 2005. Composer Austin Wintory was also nominated for a Grammy for the Journey (opens in new tab) soundtrack in 2013.
The 2023 Grammy Awards are scheduled to take place on January 31, 2023.