With artists releasing their music for free at an exponential rate, it seems only appropriate that industry bodies such as The Grammys shift their attitude towards the process. A petition has sprung up aiming to achieve just that, calling out The Grammys to change their approach to music that wasn’t released commercially.
As reported by triple j, up until now, a major criteria for releases being eligible for nomination was if they were commercially available. The rule makes sense if you considering the ubiquity of bedroom processes, and imagine how many more applicants they would receive on top of the average 20,000 from commercially available releases. But as traditional models of releasing music continue to shift, it could be time for a change.
A petition titled ‘Allow Free Music to be Eligible For Grammy Nomination‘ has been signed by more than 26,000 people at time of publication. “Ridiculously talented artists who are releasing free mixtapes and projects are not getting the recognition they truly deserve,” it reads. Petition starter Max Krasowitz has elected Chance The Rapper to be the figure head of the campaign, and for good reason.
Chance The Rapper has more or less built his career off releasing music for free, Robin Hood style. His previous release Acid Rap has amassed more than 1 million downloads, which is mental even in digital terms, and is Diamond-certified on DatPiff, which holds considerable sway over such things.
Chance is obviously happy with his appointment as figurehead, tweeting out the campaign to encourage his fans to get behind it.
The Recording Association, who are behind The Grammys explained their selection process to the International Business Times, and, interestingly, it seems like they’re open to change:
“The Grammy Awards process is fluid and, like music, continues to evolve. 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.”
However, once approved by the Recording Association, it has to be approved by The Academy’s Awards & Nominations Committee, with final verdict delivered by The Academy’s Trustees. That’s a lot of people to keep happy.
We won’t know if the petition has worked until June, when more info about the nominations is announced. That said, who’s to say some of these bedroom producers / free music releasers even want to be included in the Grammys? In fact, some may even be releasing their music for free to avoid the whole system.