What’s The Difference Between Song, Record And Album Of The Year?
My wife and I were watching the Grammy Awards last night, and as Bruno Mars was winning his 326th award for the night, and it sparked a curious conversation that neither of us completely knew the answer to. What is the difference between Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year?
At first glance, the two that seem related, Album and Record, have almost nothing to do with each other. And the two that seem like they should have nothing to do with each other, pretty much go hand in hand, being Song and Record.
When I grew up, I bought records. As in, “Oh....so and so's new record just came out.” Sometimes I said album, and they always just seemed to be interchangeable terms that meant the same thing. But technically, they're not. So let's break it down, as explained to me by our own Scott Miller:
Song of the Year is an award for the Artist...the person who actually writes the song. Not anyone who recorded or produced, etc. So that means Bruno and the two other guys who helped him write the song had an extra glass of champagne together.
Record of the Year typically goes hand in hand with Song of the Year but also awards the performer, producer, and mixer/engineer. This award probably led to a lot of champagne for Bruno as he had to share it with eight other people. Not just the award, but the champagne, too.
And lastly, Album of the Year is the full length album that any of these songs may come from. And since Bruno also won this award, I can only imagine he is still in bed nursing the mother of all hangovers.
It's almost as though it's made to be confusing, bordering on oxymoronic. Maybe it's time to re-think some of the industry's archaic and confusing terminology. But hey, now you know. So remember all this in a few weeks when the ACM Awards come around. You'll feel like the smartest person in the room....kinda.