Grammys embrace streaming-only records

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Streaming-only tracks from services such as Apple Music and Spotify will be considered for next year’s Grammy Awards for the first time, organizers announced on Thursday.

The Recording Academy said it had tweaked its definition of “general distribution” to include “paid subscription, full catalogue, on-demand streaming/limited download platforms” that are at least a year old.

The change means the Chicago hip-hop star Chance the Rapper — who made music-business history in May when his album “Coloring Book” became the first streaming-only release to chart on the Billboard 200 — would be eligible.

“The Grammys aren’t just peer-awarded, they’re peer-driven,” said Bill Freimuth, senior vice president of awards for The Recording Academy.

“Throughout the year, members of the music community come to us asking to make changes to the awards process, and we work with them to figure out how those changes might work.”

Next year’s ceremony — the music industry’s biggest night — will take place on February 12, with nominations to be announced December 6, the academy said in a statement.

It also announced new categories including Best Traditional Blues Album and Best Contemporary Blues Album.

The Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category has been renamed Best Rap/Sung Performance, to include “recordings by a solo artist who blurs the lines between rapping and singing.”

“I’m proud of this year’s changes because they’re a testament to the artists, producers, and writers — the people who rolled up their sleeves to shape the proposals and, in turn, the future of the Grammys,” Freimuth said. “It’s exactly what they should be doing.”

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