Why The Grammys Considering A “Free Music” Category Is A Good Idea


High-quality free albums receiving award recognition has been on the tip of the music industry’s tongue ever since Chance The Rapper shared a fan-created petition earlier this week. The internet’s made enough noise for the conversation to finally reach The Grammys and National Academy of Recording Arts And Sciences proper, who have said the rules could change.

“The Grammy Awards process is fluid and, like music, continues to evolve,” an Academy member told International Business Times. “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.” At the moment, the rules stipulate that only music released “commercially” is eligible for the award, but the tide of support seems ready to change that over, especially since The Grammy community can submit topics for voting. Artists like Chance, Big K.R.I.T., and so many more might have their shot at the brass ring – if they even want it in the first place.

The way the world consumes music has been changing slowly over the course of the last decade. Streaming services have overtaken physical sales at an alarming rate, with torrent sites and free music hosts getting the rest of the spoils. Some see this potential recognition as a bad idea that will completely kill off the monetary worth of music in general, but why should they have to be at odds?   More and more, equal amounts of effort are going into free albums the likes of Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s Surf, Oddisee’s AlWasta, Injury Reserve’s Live From the Dentist Office, Killer Mike & El-P’s indestructible Run The Jewels,  and countless others, so if they’re willing to shoot their shot, why can’t they have a chance? There are degrees to independence in the music world, so if the music is dope (and not just a compilation of rhymes beats ripped and uncredited), then why not?

The NARAS members are talking amongst themselves, so let’s hope they make the right choice when they announce the news in June.

Do you think “free” music should be up for Grammys?

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