Apple Music, TIDAL, Spotify and Google Play are the major players in streaming and music on those channels qualify. However, free music on popular Hip-Hop sites such as DatPiff and LiveMixtapes do not qualify because they are not subscription based. Recordings that are released exclusively via Pandora are not eligible either since they are not on demand. Recordings that are on Soundcloud Go will not become eligible until the 2018 ceremony since the service just launched in March 2016. Youtube recording are also ineligible.
“We think that [language] is actually a key to making this work for us and should really accomplish that goal of making sure that the artists who, I guess primarily for philosophical reasons, are releasing through streaming only, that they’re eligible while excluding still most, if not all, the amateur recordings,”Recording Academy SVP of Awards Bill Freimuth tells Billboard.
To break it down further, Future‘s Purple Reign mixtape will not be eligible. However his EVOL album will be. So now, your favorite rapper’s new mixtape will likely not win a Grammy. Nor will your favorite mixtape DJ.
This is the latest and perhaps biggest breakthrough in streaming since the RIAA announced they would start counting streams towards gold and platinum albums. Drake’s Views album has seen the biggest payoff from the allowance as his album has topped 1 billion streams.