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Early Winners: How GRAMMY Nominees Stack Up Before Music’s Biggest Night

3 minute read | February 2015

This Sunday marks the 57th Annual GRAMMYs. Billed as “Music’s Biggest Night,” the annual awards show has proved to be a boon to network and artists alike in recent years.

Last year’s broadcast averaged 28.5 million viewers, a slight increase from the prior year, and its second largest audience in 21 years. The show also generated 13.8 million tweets during the live broadcast, with the most-tweeted minute of the broadcast occurring during the Kendrick Lamar/Imagine Dragons performance.

And past GRAMMY winners have benefited from a sales boost after the show. When Daft Punk took home top honors for both Album of the Year and Record of the Year in 2014, their album sales for Random Access Memories increased by 300% and track sales for “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams spiked by 122% during the week after the show, compared to the previous week. Meanwhile, Best New Artist winners, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, enjoyed a 28% lift in sales for “Thrift Shop” within the same time period.

It’s clear that the GRAMMYs are a windfall for winners and performers, but what about this year’s nominees? We took a look at 2015’s nominees for three of the biggest award categories to see where they stand in terms of music consumption before the awards are handed out.


In terms of overall consumption, Beyoncé’s self-titled album, which took the world by surprise on release, dominates the category with 3.2 million albums* sold to date. Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour has sold 2.3 million albums* since its May release, and Ed Sheeran’s X, released in June 2014, follows with 1.8 million albums* sold. Pharrell Williams’ album, G I R L has sold 591,000 albums, but its monster hit “Happy”—with 6.6 million track sales and 246 million streams—drives sales up to 1.6 million albums*.


Meghan Trainor’s infectious hit, “All About that Bass,” which debuted in June 2014, is the clear leader with 4.6 million track sales and 291 million streams to date. “Fancy,” by Iggy Azalea and featuring Charli XCX, dominated the Billboard Hot100 Chart for seven weeks over the summer and follows closely with 4.1 million track sales and 283 million streams since its February release.

The next highest-selling track is Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” The song was released in August 2014—after all of the other nominees—but has already sold 3.8 million records and been streamed 248 million times to date. The hit was the first single off of Taylor’s record-breaking album, 1989, which dropped on Oct. 28, 2014. While 1989’s release was too late to put it in the running for Album of the Year, it sold 3.6 million albums in 2014, giving a much needed boost to music industry sales. Finally, Sam Smith’s infectious hit “Stay with Me” has sold 3.5 million copies and 161 million streams to date.


In the Lonely Hour, from new British pop sensation and Best New Artist nominee, Sam Smith, was only one of four albums to top 1 million in U.S. sales in 2014. Meanwhile, nominee Iggy Azalea had a number of tracks in the top 10 singles chart this year—all from her album The New Classic, which has sold 1.6 million total albums* since its April release. Bastille’s Bad Blood, released in March, has sold 1.3 million* to date, and its top single “Pompeii” has 164 million streams to date.

The top three selling artists in this category are fairly matched in terms of album sales. But if we take social media into account—award show fans are active on social media—Iggy Azalea has the social media crown with the most Twitter followers, Facebook likes and Wiki page views  among the best new artist nominees.


The insights from this article are from Music Connect (data collected activity to date as of Jan. 25, 2015), Nielsen TV ratings, Nielsen Social and the Year-End Music Report.

*Includes track equivalent albums (10 tracks = one album sale) and streaming equivalent albums (1,500 streams = one album sale).

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