The Recording Academy announced a series of amendments to the Grammy Awards this morning, a set of changes highlighted by the announcement that streaming-only releases are now eligible for consideration. (Under the old rules, albums and singles needed to receive a physical or digital release to attain eligibility.) The change is taking effect immediately, meaning streaming-only releases between October 1st, 2015 and September 30th, 2016 will be considered for the 59th Grammy Awards on February 12th, 2017.
The most obvious initial beneficiary of the change is Chance the Rapper, whose new mixtape Coloring Book is only available through streaming services. He famously rapped about the old rule on Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam," The Life of Pablo's opening track: "He said, 'Let's do a good-ass job with Chance 3' / I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy / Let's make it so free and the bars so hard that there ain't one gosh-darn part you can't tweet."
You can thank Chance the Rapper (maybe)
Do we have Chance to thank for the tweak? It's not impossible. "Throughout the year, members of the music community come to us asking how to make changes to the awards process, and we work with them to figure out how those changes might work," wrote The Recording Academy's senior vice president of awards Bill Freimuth in a statement. "I'm proud of this year's changes because they're a testament to the artist, producers, and writers – the people who rolled up their sleeves to shape... the future of the Grammys. It's exactly what they should be doing. It's their award."