It seems the Recording Academy has received enough shade to make changes to whom they give awards.
According to a press release from the Academy, they’re going to begin considering artists for awards who release stream-only albums. The amendment, which is slated to take effect for the 2017 Grammy Awards, is a big win for artists like Chance, the Rapper, who never releases physical copies of his music.
The eligibility schedule is slated to be between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016. The new rules also stipulated that they consider music "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."
This does mean that Chance’s recently released mixtape, Coloring Book, is eligible for a 2017 Grammy Award nomination. A petition was made last month in order to push the Academy to recognize the change in times as album sales widely continue to decline.
Bill Freimuth, senior vice president of awards for the Recording Academy, explained the decision to introduce the amendment, among others. "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," he said. "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."
Another amendment introduced will decrease the amount of categories for Academy members to vote on. Previously they were allowed to vote on 20 categories not including the four general ones (Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best New Artist). Now, they will only vote on 15.