The rules for the Grammy Awards change often — as in every few years. But the changes announced on Thursday, June 16, by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the awards, are bigger than just a few tweaks.
Now, for the first time ever, the awards show has made streaming only music eligible, so long as it comes out on “paid subscription, full catalog, on-demand streaming/limited download platforms” in existence for more than a year (so basically Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and the like). This means that albums like Chance the Rapper's streaming only Coloring Book can still contend for an award — and as a result, we might be seeing more streaming only albums being released by artists.
[jump] This is not the only rule the Academy changed. The rules for best new artist, which had previously required an artist to have a full album under his or her belt, will now allow for five singles or tracks instead. The rap/sung collaboration category is now the rap/sung performance category, a move which benefits single artists with multiple talents (**cough**Drake**).
Members of the academy can now only vote in 15 categories, as opposed to 20 (in addition to the top four categories of album, song, record, and new artist), in a move to “encourage members to vote only in those categories in which they are most knowledgeable, passionate, and qualified.”
Blues fans are likely pretty happy about another change that divided the blues genre into two awards for best traditional blues album and best contemporary blues album. After all, modern blues is very different from the old-school version, so this category division is certainly deserved.
The next Grammy awards will take place on February 12 of 2017.