The Impact of Streaming changes to the Grammys

No Comments 7 February 2017

The Impact of Streaming changes to the Grammys

Earlier this year, the Recording Academy made a major change to the rules for   Grammy nominations. For   the first time ever, albums that were streaming-only would be eligible   for Grammy contention. This meant physical copies for sale were no longer a   necessity in order to be considered for Grammys. With the changing music landscape   meaning that an album could become a hit even without being sold in stores,   the Recording Academy evidently realized they needed to adjust their rules.

By: Nicholas Johnson

Chance The Rapper

With the nominations for the upcoming 59th Grammy Awards recently announced,   the biggest beneficiary was Chance the Rapper. The Chicago rapper’s "Coloring   Book" was a streaming-only blockbuster, becoming the first streaming-only   album to reach the Billboard Top 10 Albums Chart. Chance was nominated for seven   Grammys including Best Rap Album. Considering his competition of   artists such as Kanye West, Drake and De La Soul, it is very impressive that   Chance was able to join their ranks, even without the backing of a label.

"Coloring Book" was one of the most acclaimed releases of the past   year, so it is possible that the Recording Academy felt the pressure to change   their rules in order to accommodate it. According   to Bill Freimuth, Recording Academy senior vice president of awards,   this change was one they had been considering for a while.

"Our trustees felt like the time had come," Freimuth said. "It’s   been on our radar for a couple of years now."

While the rest of the Grammy nominations are dominated by artists who have   their work available for physical purchase, such as Adele and Beyonce, Chance’s   nominations and the rule changes are likely to usher in a new era   for the Grammys. The idea has long been held that in order to achieve success   via the music industry, you need to have major label support and have your music   available for purchase. With   the success of "Coloring Book," Chance is absolutely defying   that notion.

It seems that promotion might be the key. With the internet being the undisputed   outlet to exchange information and ideas, an up-and-coming artist like Chance   is wise to utilize it in order to promote their work. Instead of waiting around   for a label to notice them, artists can use the internet to show off their work   right away and get people excited about it.

So does that mean the nominees for the 60th Grammy Awards will all be streaming-only?   Probably not, but there will probably be a few more than last year. On his show-stopping   feature on the song "Ultralight Beam" off of Kanye West’s album "The   Life of Pablo," Chance says "I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the   Grammy." This was before the rules change. Good news, Chance: You no longer   gotta sell it.

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