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The GRAMMY Effect: How Music’s Biggest Night Drives Sales and Artist Engagement

3 minute read | February 2015

With its high number of engaged viewers, the GRAMMY Awards can have a positive impact on music sales for nominated and winning artists. But these days, album and song sales are just a part of the fragmented music ecosystem. Music consumption today is more accurately measured by multiple metrics—sales, streams, airplay and social—providing the most accurate view of how an artist is truly resonating with fans.

Even artists who enjoy huge levels of sales, streams and airplay can find new audiences and realize significant increases as a result of the GRAMMYs. Digital sales of Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me,” which has been a mainstay in the digital charts since its release last year, increased 721% after the British newcomer scored his four GRAMMYs wins and performed the song on the broadcast. Similarly, his total on-demand streams (both audio and video) increased 14% from a level already in the millions. Data from Nielsen’s Music Connect shows his number of new Facebook Likes and Twitter followers also increased 44% and 70%, respectively.

Beck’s win for Album of the Year win generated a huge amount of media coverage, aided by a little Kanye West controversy. Illustrating the effect of a GRAMMY win for an artist who likely wasn’t as well-known as Beyoncé, digital sales of Beck’s “Heart Is a Drum” skyrocketed—increasing more than 35,000% on the day of the event and the next day compared with the same two days in the prior week. His social media following grew as well, with his number of new Facebook likes increasing over 360% and Twitter followers growing 689% from the week prior. Meanwhile, Kanye’s controversial stage invasion and performance of “Only One” helped boost his track sales by more than 475% and increase his already high level of streams up a further 14%.

Some of the biggest increases in music consumption following the GRAMMYs are for lesser-known artists, or artists who are currently less visible in the U.S. media, who perform during the telecast. The weekend before the GRAMMY telecast, Brandy Clark’s digital sales for “Hold My Hand” were in the single digits. After performing the song with Dwight Yoakam on the telecast, her sales jumped to the thousands—representing an increase of more than 150,000%. Superstar Annie Lennox released an album of American standards last September. After she performed “I Put A Spell On You,” her social media, streams and sales more than doubled from the prior week, and her radio spins increased 13% on the Hot 100 format and 25% on Rock radio. And when Latin superstar Juanes performed “Juntos”—in Spanish—on the telecast, the artist’s overall spins increased 3.5% on Latin radio and more than 20% on the Mexican radio format. His sales and streams also increased.

Sometimes you don’t need to be nominated, or even at an event, to make an impact. During the CBS GRAMMY telecast, Target used four minutes of advertising time to feature a live performance by rock band Imagine Dragons. Through the integrated product placement, the advertiser became a content creator, delivering an exciting branded performance to the average 16.3 million households and 10.5 million adults in the coveted 18-49 demographic who tuned in that evening. The band’s number of new Facebook likes increased over 30% and new Twitter followers increased over 5% compared to the week prior.

“When it comes to engaging music fans, the GRAMMY telecast is without peer,” says David Bakula, SVP of Industry Insights for Nielsen Entertainment. “The GRAMMYs continue to be a tremendous driver of awareness and discovery. This is clear in the increases that we see in sales, streaming, social followers and web activity.”

While it’s great to win and to get some air-time, the results show that winners, performers, nominees and even the brands can reap the benefits of music’s big night of celebration.


Digital sales, streaming, airplay and social data from Nielsen Music Connect Digital; sales and streaming data collected from Feb. 8, 2015, and Feb. 9, 2015, compared with Feb. 1, 2015, and Feb. 2, 2015. Social media data collected from the week ending Feb. 8, 2015, and compared to data from the week ending Feb. 1, 2015. 

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