The nominations for the 59th annual Grammy awards were announced Tuesday (Dec. 6), and Chance The Rapper is at the top the list, racking up seven total nods, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album. That second inclusion is notable, because Coloring Book is the first streaming-only project to be made eligible for a Grammy. Chance petitioned the Recording Academy to include projects that are only available via streaming, and soon after they gave in.
But when XXL spoke to the Head Awards Bill Freimuth on Tuesday, he said Chance’s petition had nothing to do with the Grammys deciding to include streaming-only albums.
“I’d say [Chance’s petition] had no influence at all,” Freimuth said. “Streaming is an issue that we’ve been talking about for a couple years now and seeing how it came on the horizon and got on our radar, we started thinking about what our response or approach to streaming should be. We gave it a lot diligent work and thought and discussion among music makers and we came up with this rule last year that allowed streaming-only releases to be part the mix.
“One the things that a lot people are confused about is there really are few artists who choose to go streaming-only,” he continued. “If it is on streaming, it’s also on download or on CD or vinyl or whatever. We don’t think it amounted to much an increase in our overall submissions, and yet it makes us feel like we did the right thing in terms being current and being proactive and reactive to changes in the industry. We’re pleased as punch that it allowed Chance to be in competition this year because he’s a wonderful artist.”
Freimuth also gave some clarification about why, when every other category has five nominees, there are six nominees for Best Rap Album (Chance’s Coloring Book, Kanye’s The Life Pablo, Drake’s Views, Khaled’s Major Key, ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face and De La Soul’s And the Anonymous Nobody). It turns out the voting members the Academy had a stalemate when voting for the rap albums that would be included, and due to the tie, they had to include a sixth album instead making a decision. Which two albums tied, he wouldn’t say.
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