There are just four categories at the Grammy Awards where artists from all musical genres compete against one another — Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. In these four races, country artists bump up against R&B musicians, and they both take on pop stars. If an artist wins one of these awards, they’ll make headlines and get to give a nice speech during the awards telecast.

But the Grammys’ many, many categories are already steeped in confusing industry-speak, and the top four awards are no different. With the exception of Best New Artist, it’s easy to confuse the other three.

Here’s everything you need to know to keep these categories straight.

Today, the album’s producers, sound engineers, mixers, and songwriters are also honored, as are any featured artists who appear on the album. Generally, if you participated in creating a significant portion of the album (defined as at least 33 percent of its playing time), you get a golden gramophone.

How to remember it: The whole album gets an award! Some people confuse Album of the Year with Record of the Year, since albums used to be on physical records, and the two terms are often used interchangeably in common parlance. But singles also used to be on physical records, and you wouldn’t call a single song “Album of the Year.”

The 2021

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