The Recording Academy announced today that streaming-only releases on significant platforms are finally eligible to be submitted for consideration at The Grammys, Billboard reported. This significant shift will take effect as of the 59th Grammy Awards, on February 12 2017. Yes, that means Chance The Rapper could grab some statues for Coloring Book next year.
This is what Recording Academy SVP of Awards Bill Freimuth had to say about it: "The goal was to include recordings that were worthy of Grammy consideration that were streaming-only — which it turns out were a pretty small number — and exclude the 12-year-old singing a Beyonce cover into her comb that's easy to put up online also these days for streaming."
Sorry, budding YouTube stars: that means only releases streaming on music platforms, like Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and Google Play, will be considered as having "general distribution." Albums uploaded to mixtape websites are also ineligible.
The Recording Academy indicated its willingness to change this past May, in an email to The FADER: “The GRAMMY Awards process is fluid and, like music, continues to evolve. As a peer-voted award, the awards process is also peer-determined. Each spring, music creators in the community work with Recording Academy staff to prepare and submit proposals, which are then reviewed by the Board and announced shortly thereafter. Rules for the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be announced this June.”
Also in May, a 15 year old named Mike Krasowitz started a petition calling for The Grammys to consider free releases. "[A]rtists like Chance the Rapper... are being punished for making their music available to everyone, rich or poor, by releasing their music for free," he wrote. "It's obvious that these artists are making their music more accessible to people who deserve it even if they can't afford it, as well as decreasing pirating and illegally downloading music." It was signed by over 34,000 supporters.
Read more about this in our essay, "How Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment Could Change The Grammys Forever," here.
On June 16, this post was updated to include reactions from Chance The Rapper and Donnie Trumpet.