The Grammy Bump and Artist Results: NPR

Beyoncé, receiving the award for Best R&B Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles in March 2021.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Beyoncé, receiving the award for Best R&B Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles in March 2021.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Grammy Awards – billed as “music’s biggest night” – begin Sunday afternoon, when dozens of enthusiastic winners will take to the podium to collect their prizes. Later, many big names are expected to appear on a glitzy live TV show. But what do the Grammys really mean to nominees and winners, in terms of money?

The frontrunner in the Grammy race this year is Beyoncé. She is up for nine awards, including three of the night’s most vaunted accolades: Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. If she wins four Grammys this year, she will walk away with more awards than anyone since that honor was founded 65 years ago. (The current record holder is the late classical conductor Georg Solti, who won 31 trophies.)

That said: Beyoncé is in a league of her own — it doesn’t seem likely that more or fewer Grammys are going to move the needle for her, earnings-wise. (Bragging rights, of course.) As it stands, she’s already the female artist with the most Grammys in history. She just announced an upcoming tour that is already selling out instantly as tickets are released. Last month, she did a one-hour private show in Dubai for which she was reportedly paid $24 million.

For artists and industry workers not quite in that stratosphere, however, winning a Grammy can still matter both in terms of reputation enhancement and bank account coverage. .

The number of Grammy Awards fluctuates quite regularly. New categories are introduced; less popular categories are streamlined and sometimes removed. This year, the Recording Academy, which is the nonprofit organization behind the Grammys, is giving out awards in 91 categories. Many nominees work in niche genres and areas of the business, from blues to reggae to writing top liner notes.

For these folks, having that Grammy seal of approval continues to be an open door. This can attract new audiences and generate future gigs; streaming and sales increase. Artists sign new recording contracts or partnerships with more influential managers. The “Grammy bump” is real.

Take, for example, Megan Thee Stallion. In 2019, his career was still filtering. She had her first big hit that year with “Hot Girl Summer”; later that year, when she stopped by NPR to perform a Tiny Desk gig, it was the very first time she had worked with a live band in public.

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There is evidence that her career, which was already on the rise, really took off after winning Best New Artist at the 2021 Grammy Awards. She was the first female hip-hop artist to win the award in addition to two decades; no one had done it since Lauryn Hill in 1999.

Hip-hop fans already knew Megan, but her Grammy wins, which also included
Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song that year meant she was suddenly on a wider radar. By the end of the night of the Grammys telecast, his digital album sales were up 178% from the day before, per Billboard. By the end of that year, she had signed a first production contract with Netflix.

Last year, many people were shocked when bandleader and composer Jon Batiste won album of the year, the biggest prize of the night, along with four other awards. Many longtime Grammys watchers said her win was unsurprising because her album We are hit a lot of sweet spots for traditional Grammy voters. Even so, his work was new to many music fans. According Billboardhis album sales skyrocketed over 2,700% immediately following his Grammy wins.

Historically, there have been instances where a Grammy win hasn’t helped an artist at all. There’s an old joke that the Best New Artist award is actually a curse – and that too dates back long before Milli Vanilli won in 1990 and was later revealed to be a fake. With the long-lasting successes of more recent winners like Adele, Chance the Rapper and Billie Eilish as well as Megan Thee Stallion, those days may be behind us.


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