How many times have you proclaimed how great a free mixtape was? From Rick Ross to Future, the free music market is always stacked with quality projects that can to have as big an impact as retail albums do. The music industry is changing, and thus everything around it must change too. We've seen Billboard factor in streams to their charts and first week sales last year. Now, is it time for the GRAMMYs to include nominations for free projects, which are currently ineligible?
There's a petition going around for the NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Science) to do just that. It reads, "Not all artists should be forced to release their music for free, but the ones who do should not be punished for doing so."
The argument has a lot of validity to it. Some of the biggest names in Hip op -- Chance The Rapper, Young Thug, Lil Wayne -- have chosen the free route and made mixtapes that get the same level of hype as albums, if not more. Chance, for instance, is releasing Chance 3 next week and he once said he'll never sell his music. But should that exclude him from being nominated for the music industry's highest award?
Granted, not every mixtape should be eligible. Johnny Two Time shouldn't get a nomination for spitting over "Panda" and "One Dance." It should strictly be for original music. There should be a GRAMMY category for Best Free Mixtape of the Year. The biggest of the biggest tapes should be able to slide into the Rap Album of the Year.
Jay Z forced the RIAA to change and certify Magna Carta Holy Grail platinum after his deal with Samsung. Hov let the world know there was "new rules" in effect, and we've slowly witnessed more of these nods to a changing landscape. In order for the GRAMMYs to keep their cultural relevance, they need to be willing to adapt. It's time for a change.