New Changes announced for 2017 Grammy Awards.
Streaming-only recordings — released on paid-subscription platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal but not for sale on iTunes — will now qualify for Grammy nominations.
The Recording Academy announced these changes yesterday and it will impact the 2017 Grammys, to be presented on February 12 in Los Angeles.
“We noticed that there were a number of higher-profile artists who were choosing — for philosophical reasons as much as anything — to release their music through streaming-only, and we did not want to be exclusionary toward them,” said Bill Freimuth, the academy’s senior vice president of awards.
Some acts, including Prince and Beyonce, have exclusively debuted music on Tidal.
They later released the music on iTunes and other platforms. Chance the Rapper’s project, “Coloring Book,” was released exclusively on Apple Music and will have a chance to compete.
The new rule does carry some technical specifications: An eligible recording must have audio quality “comparable to at least 16-bit 44.1 kHz,” for instance, and have “a verifiable online release date.”
The Recording Academy is following other music-industry gatekeepers in embracing streaming, which last year nearly doubled in use from the year before, according to Nielsen Music. (Spotify, the most popular on-demand streaming service, says it has 30 million paid subscribers; Apple Music, which launched last June, claims 15 million.)
With the complete revamp of Apple Music starting with iOS 10, Apple will continue to attract new customers and grow its user base. This in turn will attract more artists to release their albums on Apple Music. Spotify, in the mean time is gearing up for an IPO and will be able to invest more capital into its operations if the IPO works out to be successful for them. Only time will tell how this plays out for both.