‘Album of the Year’ Grammys category includes albums not released in CD format for first time in a generation
When it came to the respective releases of their albums, Invasion of Privacy and H.E.R., both Cardi B and H.E.R. originally opted to forgo the traditional CD route. Both female artists made their productions available via streaming, digital downloads, and vinyl, bypassing the physical CD format, which has charted a steady course of sales decline over the past decade. Cardi and H.E.R. are both up for “Album of the Year,” making the 2019 Grammy Awards the first awards ceremony to see nominees who did not release albums on CD receive nominations since 1984.
It’s no secret that CD sales have progressively plunged over the years. In 2007, CDs comprised 90 percent of album sales in the US, but only accounted for an approximate 18 of sales in 2017, according to data from Nielsen Music. The hip-hop and R&B genres, however, have specifically shied from physical CD releases in recent years. Eminem‘s Kamikaze, Travis Scott‘s Astroworld, Kanye West‘s Ye, and Migos‘ Culture II all debuted within the top ten of Billboard’s 200 list this year. The albums are likened not only by their individual but common chart positions, but by their shared snubbing of an initial arrival by way of the CD. Although the albums — excepting Invasion of Privacy — eventually came out on CD, the CD version of each album did not become available for several weeks following the albums’ initial releases.
Given the CD’s storied swan song over the years, the 2019 Grammy Awards will likely not be anomalous in its inclusion of artists who evaded the CD in the context of awards ceremonies to come. As Best Buy continues to remove CDs from its brick-and-mortar storefronts, in a move that other major music retailers will presumably mimic, it is probable that “Album of the Year” nominees will routinely feature those who favored digital and vinyl releases over the CD in succeeding years.
View the full list of 2019 Grammy Award nominees here.
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