According to Recording Academy rules, if a musician is giving away their music free or streaming it on SoundCloud, but not making it available for sale, that music is not eligible for a Grammy Award. A petition is gaining steam designed to change that.
A petition to make free music eligible for the Grammys is gaining traction, with more than 18,000 signatures to date.
In addition to release date guidelines, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says that to be eligible for a Grammy Award, the music must be "commercially released in general distribution in the United States, i.e. sales by label to a branch or recognized independent distributor, via the Internet, or mail order/retail sales for a nationally marketed product. Recordings must be available for sale from any date within the eligibility period through at least the date of the current year’s voting deadline (final ballot)."
"This means that artists like Chance the Rapper, who are now getting national recognition and performing on national platforms (just this past week Chance performed on the Jimmy Fallon show) are being punished for making their music available to everyone, rich or poor, by releasing their music for free" says Max Krasowitz who started the petition.
Chance The Rapper, who has tweeted his thanks and support, releases his music for free via SoundCloud and sometimes iTunes.
Sign the petition here.