Every autumn, a handful of artists scramble to release albums before the Grammy deadline, which this year falls on Sept. 30. Leonard Cohen, Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett will sneak in under the wire, and rumors swirl that Kanye West could drop new material before October. Annie Lennox’s covers collection, Nostalgia, will have a vinyl-only release on Sept. 30 to make the cutoff, then a full release on Oct. 12. And when electronic producer Steve Aoki’s next album Neon Future was bumped from Aug. 12, it landed smack dab on Sept. 30.
Aoki’s previous release, Wonderland, was nominated for the best dance/electronica album Grammy in 2013, and noms have real value: They can lead to the TV bookings, radio play and press that drives an act forward. “A Grammy nom is something you can put in your marketing materials when you’re trying to take your artist to the next level. It’s a great tool to have,” says Harvest Records’ Lucy Robinson, a former rep for 2012 best new artist Grammy winner Bon Iver. “You can point to the voters, who are creative professionals, and say, ‘This group cares about this album. It’s a worthy piece of art.’”