CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s own! Chance the Rapper commanded the Grammy stage Monday night in a collaboration with gospel greats, Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann.
Chance scooped up three statues, including one for best new artist. In fact, he is the first artist to win a Grammy for a streaming-only album.
“Streaming,” which allows you to start using the content before the entire file is downloaded, is a relatively new form of getting one’s music out to the public. Still, it has quickly become one of the most popular forms of music consumption.
Music artist Kweku Collins once struggled to register 100 listeners, but music streaming platforms have helped him reach three million listeners for the release of his song ‘Ghost.’
“Now I have hundreds of thousands of people listening to my music every month,” said Collins, who is pursuing a solo career with a style of music he calls Bohemian Hip Hop. “That’s wild to me — that people have listened to my music that much.”
He’s following in the footsteps of Chance, the history-making artist who began his career by sharing his music in person throughout Chicago to build his base.
“That’s what I did in Evanston at home. I would pass out copies of my music throughout the school and start the word through that,” Collins said.
Recording houses collect hefty fees from artists to distribute their work. Streaming services do that job for about a quarter of a penny per stream.
Producers say one million streams could mean $2,500 for a musician. Chance the Rapper’s ‘Coloring Book’ scored 57 million streams in its debut week alone.
At WGCI, they are proud of Chance the Rapper’s success, which came not only from sharing music for free, but also from pursuing a closer relationship with fans.
“They feel like they are getting a gift from you,” said WGCI’s Frankie Robinson. “You create a whole album and you give it away for free, that’s amazing.”
Collins said now he has hope, adding that, “the ceiling of what’s possible as an independent artist has been shattered.”
The 20-year-old bought his first car, a 2005 Ford, with his earnings. He still pays money to managers to help him further his career, which is taking him to the South by Southwest festival as well as a number of local concerts and appearances this summer.