Chance The Rapper has led somewhat of a charge regarding changes to the way in which the Grammys work, which many have considered outdated. Now, it looks like the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is willing to evolve with the times, announcing today that they will be modernizing Grammy nominations and categories. Perhaps the most exciting part about this, however, is that from next year the Recording Academy will be welcoming streaming-only releases for nomination.
The 59th annual Grammy Awards will take place on February 12, 2017, and will see considerably change for the award ceremony. This change has been implemented immediately, and is among other big changes to the ways in which the Grammys will actually work. Having previously considered the change just last month, Billboard reports that Recording Academy SVP of Awards Bill Freimuth says of the change, “Our trustees felt like the time had come; it’s been on our radar for a couple of years now.”
He continued, explaining, “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.” This means that albums released via streaming services will now be applicable for nomination, but material uploaded to places like YouTube will not. Projects released via Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, or Google Play will all qualify for nomination, but exclusive releases via Pandora, LiveMixtapes/Datpiff, or SoundCloud Go will not.
This all means Chance The Rapper will be very happy, because Coloring Book is now eligible for Grammy consideration. This is the first time Chance has qualified for nomination as a lead artist. The Recording Academy are also making changes to the ways in which categories work, in particular the Best New Artist category, with the new rules stating that an artist “must have released a minimum of five singles/tracks or one album, but no more than 30 singles/tracks or three albums.”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration is also changing to be Best Rap/Sung Performance, which will allow solo tracks to be nominated. Freimuth explained, “The artist that I hear most often in reference to this is 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.”