The Recording Academy has announced that songs released on paid streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, but not for sale on iTunes, will now be eligible for Grammy nomination.
The change comes following a popular petition which asked for “free” music to be included at the Grammy Awards, backed by artists like Chance the Rapper whose latest mixtape was only released on streaming services.
“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,” Bill Freimuth, the academy’s senior vice president of awards, said in an interview.
Other changes being made to the awards include the number of categories Grammy members can vote in being reduced to 15 from 20 – while to qualify for the best new artist category you only need to have released five singles, rather than an album.
The best rap/sung collaboration is being changed to best rap/sung performance, so that artists like Drake, Chris Brown and Future who both rap and sing on a song can compete in the category alone.
All changes come into effect at the 2017 Grammy Awards, which take place on February 12. Songs and albums released between October 1 2015 and September 31 2016 will be eligible, with nominations being announced on December 6.