Streaming-Only Music Now Eligible for Grammy Nominations

It had finally been accomplished; Streaming-Only Music will now be eligible to be nominated for a Grammy! Does this have anything to do with Chance The Rapper’s influence?

Recently, the Recording Academy announced that streaming-only releases can receive  Grammy nominations. The ruling will be effective immediately. This will be important as the selections for the 59th annual Grammy Awards are in motion and will be officially  held on February 12th, 2017.


So in order to apply to the new guidelines, new music must fall under these general qualifications:

  1. The song or album should have been released to at least one of the major streaming services — Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal or Google Play.
  2. Any projects that are restrictedly available to Pandora or Soundcloud Go will not be eligible, including any works released strictly on YouTube.
  3. In addition, mixtapes that are discovered on free sites such as Datpiff or LiveMixtapes will not be considered.

This is great news, because this means that artists like Chance the Rapper can compete, meaning Coloring Book is up for grabs Grammys! This is also fantastic news, in general, as this topic has been a challenge for the Academy for quite some time. Coloring Book, also just became the first streaming-exclusive project to chart on the Billboard 200, so it’s only appropriate that it’s get a chance at glory. It also accumulated 57.3 million first-week streams before even being released to Spotify, Tidal and other platforms of the like!

The eligibility period for new music started as of Oct. 1, 2015 and will continue onto Sept. 30, 2016, where the submissions will close and the nominations will be determined.

Recording Academy SVP of Awards Bill Freimuth said, “The process for the changes is one of the elements of the overall process of which I’m proudest, because it keeps us as current and as relevant as we can and it keeps the process dynamic. We’re happy about that and we’re glad to make changes every year.”


He’s right. By making such alterations to the format of music awarding process, they are making a better future for the industry and allowing more artists to step forth and introduce their music to the world.

Earlier in May, a petition, created by Max Krasowitz, broadcasted across the internet, proposing that free projects, i.e. mixtapes, be made eligible for Grammy consideration by the Recording Academy. The petition went viral and Chance The Rapper was one of its leading figures to carry out the request. Its demanding power and voice actually made a signficant impact and influence on the academy. One of its spokespeople admitted that a free music category wasn’t impossible and that “the Grammy Awards process is fluid and, like music, continues to evolve.” Meaning, it should be just as fair and simple to nominate a song, as it is to hear a song.

One of the primary reasons that Max Krasowitz created the petition was to get artists like Chance The Rapper the recognition they deserve: “Artists like Chance the Rapper who are now getting national recognition and performing on national platforms are being punished for making their music available to everyone, rich or poor, by releasing their music for free,” Krasowitz wrote on the petition page. This new amendment to The Grammys now means that Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book is fair game. Krasowitz began this whole movement in hopes of giving artists the recognition and support that they deserved to keep making their music. He saw the injustice and imbalance of the rules and knew it was time to take a stand for the talent and creatives out there, working hard to be heard.

“The Grammys aren’t just peer-awarded, they’re peer-driven. Throughout the year, members of the music community come to us asking to make changes to the Awards process, and we work with them to figure out how those changes might work. I’m proud of this year’s changes because they’re a testament to the artists, producers, writers – the people who rolled up their sleeves to shape the proposals and, in turn, the future of the Grammys. It’s exactly what they should be doing. It’s their award,” said the Senior Vice President of Awards for the Recording Academy, Bill Freimuth.

In a recent press release announcing the move today, The Academy noted that stream only efforts will be eligible if, and only if, “released via general distribution, defined as the nationwide release of a recording via brick and mortar, third-party online retailers, and/or applicable digital streaming services. Applicable streaming services are paid subscription, full catalog, on-demand streaming/limited download platforms that have existed as such within the United States for at least one full year as of the submission deadline.”

[Update] In addition, there are many more amendments taking place at the Academy and Grammys this year that we should be wary of. Here’s a quick breakdown of those changes:

For the Best New Artist category, artists are no longer ineligible if they have released a project prior to their Grammy consideration– they “must have released a minimum of five singles/tracks or one album, but no more than 30 singles/tracks or three albums.”
Academy members are no longer allowed to vote on 20 categories– the number has decreased to 15.
Best Rap/Sung Performance is now titled as Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and is “intended to recognize solo and collaborative performances containing elements of R&B and rap in melody and song. In the case of a collaboration of artists who don’t usually perform together, one of the collaborating artists should be credited and recognized as a featured artist.”

Nevertheless, it’s safe to say we are all hyped for next years Grammy Awards!


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