The Grammy Awards (originally the Gramophone Awards), presented by the Recording Academy (an association of Americans professionally involved in the recorded music industry) for outstanding achievements in the recording industry, is one of four major music awards shows held annually in the United States (the Billboard Music Awards, the American Music Awards, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, make up the rest). However, the Grammys, usually held in February, (last of what are considered the "big three" music awards shows, including the BMA and AMA shows) are considered the approximate equivalent to the Oscars, in the music world.
Like the Oscars, the Grammys, which currently have 105 categories within 30 genres of music (such as pop, gospel, and rap), are voted upon by peers - voting members of the Recording Academy - rather than being based upon popularity (as with the BMAs and the AMAs).
The awards are named for the trophy which the winner receives - a small gilded statuette of a gramophone, handcrafted by Billings Artworks. The awards ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and some of the more prominent Grammys are presented in a widely-viewed televised ceremony.
Some feel that because Grammy voters tend to vote conservatively, and are marketed to by record companies, the most widely-recognized Grammys tend to go to either well-established artists or those being hyped by the recording industry. Hence, the Grammys are not taken seriously by some musicians and music fans. In fact, many artists who are placed in high regard, artistically, by many fans and critics (such as Elvis Presley, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, Pink Floyd, Kenny Rogers, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Pixies and The Smiths) have only been awarded very few Grammys.
Of the "big three" music awards shows, the Grammys are the highest rated.
Unlike the Academy Awards, for which the eligiblilty period begins January 1, the eligibility period for the Grammys begins October 1, which results in September being considered the Christmas sales period for the music industry (in which artists generally release big albums to qualify for the next year's Grammy). So, for example, John Lennon