The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, better known as The Grammys, are actually considering a category for free music.
The International Business Times is reporting that the The Grammys is considering revising their policy that only music available for commercial release [i.e. for sale, for money] can win the award.
But with free music, mainly mixtapes, making a roads for critically-acclaimed artists like Chance the Rapper to become popular, fans have begun to pressure the Academy to recognize them.
The organization that runs the Grammy Awards said Monday it would consider revising its eligibility requirements in the wake of a growing effort to boost industry recognition for free music. Under its current rules, the Recording Academy only considers music released “commercially” and distributed in the United States to be eligible for Grammys, but the organization said it reevaluates its nominating process and considers changes to its categories every year.
“The Grammy Awards process is fluid and, like music, continues to evolve,” an academy spokesperson told International Business Times in an email. “As a peer-voted award, the awards process is also peer-determined. Each spring, music creators in the community work with Recording Academy staff to prepare and submit proposals, which are then reviewed by the Board and announced shortly thereafter.”
This announcement comes days after an online petition on Change.org titled Allow Free Music To Be Eligible For Grammy Nomination began circulating. A link to the petition was also tweeted out by Chance the Rapper. Despite reports, he did not create the campaign himself.
The petition written by Max Krasowitz says:
Ridiculously talented artists who are releasing free mixtapes and projects are not getting the recognition they truly deserve because the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences insists that to be eligible for a prestigious Grammy Award that the music must be “commercially released in general distribution in the United States, i.e. sales by label to a branch or recognized independent distributor, via the Internet, or mail order/retail sales for a nationally marketed product.
Hip-Hop by and large is perhaps the only genre where free music is common. Free mixtapes have built the careers of artists like Future, Drake, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and many others. But, is this something that Hip-Hop really thinks it wants? Who’s to say that even with the rules being changed, that the Grammys, who will most likely consist of the same voters, won’t just find a way to reward the usual suspects?
If Eminem or Macklamore decides that they want to drop a mixtape, you don’t think they will win that Best Free Mixtape Album of the Year Award too? If the Grammy’s change the rules, will Free Music become it’s own genre with different categories? Or will it be a situation where rap, rock and pop music will be lumped together resulting in a free Katy Perry project sponsored by Cover Girl that wins the award?
The Association says that the revisions are being considered for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards and will announce changes, if any, in June.