Streaming-only music will now be eligible for Grammy Awards for the first time in the awards’ history, according to a press release from the Recording Academy on rule amendments for next year’s 59th Grammy Awards.
The new guidelines open up the nominating field to “streaming-only” music that exists only on services with “paid subscription, full catalogue, [and] on-demand/limited download platforms.”
This means that free mixtapes, Soundcloud albums, and similarly unpaid music will remain uneligible for nomination at this time.
The normal eligibility restrictions for music released between October 5, 2015 and September 30, 2016 will still apply.
The rule change comes about a month after Chance the Rapper, a champion of free and streaming-only music, threw his support behind a petition to allow streaming-only music to be considered for Grammy nomination.
Fittingly, Chance’s critically-acclaimed new album “Colouring Book,” which premiered on Apple Music in May and is now available on Spotify and Tidal as well, will now be eligible for nomination.
Given the universal praise around “Colouring Book” and its surprising power on the Billboard album chart (despite being streaming-only), Chance has a very good chance of nabbing a nod in one of the rap categories.
Chance even made a sly nod to the Grammy rules before releasing the album, when he rapped on Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam”: “I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail / He said let’s do a good a– job with Chance three /
I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy.”
Chance responded to the news of his eligibility by retweeting the Grammys on the rule change and posting an exulted tweet of his own:
I will bless the Lord, bless the Lord at all times.
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) June 16, 2016
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