Published Jun 16, 2016In an attempt to catch up to the music listening habits of the online age, the Grammys have adjusted their eligibility guidelines. The Recording Academy will now include streaming-only releases amongst those albums eligible to be nominated.
As per a set of changes implemented today (June 16), the new rules will be taken into account for the upcoming 59th Grammy Awards, which are set to take place on February 12, 2017.
In a statement about the modifications, the Recording Academy's senior vice-president of awards Bill Freimuth told Billboard: "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 Beyoncé cover into her comb that's easy to put up online also these days for streaming."
While that may dash the dream of wanna-Beys everywhere, it's especially good news for Chance the Rapper fans. Last month, a petition was started to get the rapper's streaming-only release Coloring Book on the list of albums eligible for nomination.
At the time the petition was launched, its founder Max Krasowitz argued, "Ridiculously talented artists who are releasing free mixtapes and projects are not getting the recognition they truly deserve because the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences insists that to be eligible for a prestigious Grammy Award that the music must be 'commercially released in general distribution in the United States.'"
Under the revamped regulations, any recording made available through major streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal or Google Play fall under the umbrella of being "commercially released in general distribution." Pandora's in-the-works new service and SoundCloud Go are not currently included, as the rules state streaming services must have been operating for one year prior to the September 30 cut-off for submissions. YouTube, Datpiff and LiveMixtapes exclusive releases remain ineligible, as well.
Other changes implemented by the Recording Academy include Best New Artist nominees being required to release between five and 30 single tracks and no more than three albums (rather than the old requirement of one album) and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration getting rebranded as Best Rap/Sung Performance. The latter, was apparently primarily motivated by Drake.
"He does a lot of singing and rapping together as a single artist, and if we required it to be a collaboration, well, it can't be Drake featuring Drake," Freimuth explained. "They would have to listen closely as to whether it was predominantly singing or predominantly rapping as to whether it would go into the R&B or Rap [fields]. And now it's a much more comfortable fit."
That seems promising for Drizzy, especially given the administrative fumble that left him without any trophies for "Hotline Bling" at last year's awards.