A coalition of musicians that has protested the Recording Academy's decision to drop 31 categories from the Grammy Awards is stepping up the pressure, calling for a boycott of the Grammys' telecast partner, CBS, and hiring a lawyer to explore legal action, The Associated Press reports.
"We will ask people to stop watching CBS, boycott their sponsors and then write them," Bobby Sanabria, a Grammy-nominated Latin jazz musician and the leader of the coalition, said in an interview. "We're at a critical juncture."
A representative for the Academy didn't return requests for comment.
In a surprise move, the Academy announced in April that it was reducing the number of award categories from 109 to 78. While the changes involve mainstream categories, the Academy also reduced specific categories, including some of the instrumental categories; traditional gospel; children's spoken-word album; Zydeco or Cajun music album; best Latin jazz album; and best classical crossover album. Artists in those categories will now compete in more general fields.
Sanabria has claimed the reductions unfairly target ethnic music and called the Academy's decision racist. He has also said the Academy made the changes without the knowledge of its members.
However, Grammy president and chief executive Neil Portnow has said the changes were properly implemented after an examination by a committee, then voted on by a board that represented its members.
CBS is scheduled to broadcast the Grammys in February from Los Angeles. The network declined to comment.