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Three words that might make you groan: paying for music. It’s not something most millennials want to do, unless you’re really passionate about supporting your favorite artists. Free music is great for the fans, especially ones who can’t afford a constantly updated stream, but not so much for artists trying to make it big (or just a buck) in the industry.

Artists who release free music, like Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book” and Young Thug with his recent “Slime Season” success, have been creating without reaping the full reward…or so says one music fan. Max Krasowitz recently made a petition to help free music makers have a chance.

“Ridiculously talented artists who are releasing free mixtapes and projects are not getting the recognition they truly deserve,” wrote Krasowitz in his petition, which has nearly 30,000 signatures.

Since the rapid delince of CD sales, established artists have begun releasing their mixtapes on websites like Bandcamp and SoundCloud to be downloaded for free or by way of a small monthly membership. Free music is not new, however; underground musicians as well have been producing it for years in an effort to just get their sound heard.

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The artist that Krasowitz specifically mentions in his petition is Chance the Rapper. Chance has recently made a name for himself, especially from his album “Acid Rap,” but releases his music for free. Chance’s discography cannot be found on iTunes or Spotify, but can be downloaded online. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, Chance’s side project, also released their album “Surf” on iTunes to download for free.

“Not all artists should be forced to release their music for free,” Krasowitz said, “but the ones who do should not be punished for doing so.” 

In response, Grammy eligibility requirements state that, “Recordings 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).”

Releasing free music is becoming a trend among artists, and the Grammys may need to consider keeping up with the times. If you agree that artists who independently make good music should be recognized for it, sign the petition here.

What do you think about this issue? Who are some artists you like that release free music? Comment below and tweet us @Life_Back_Stage.

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