When last year’s Grammy Awards ended, it was
clear that Adele was the show’s sweetheart, hauling
home six gramophone statuettes.
This year’s ceremony didn’t have as clear a winner
as the British sensation, who added to her lifetime
total with a win in the “Best Pop Solo Performance”
category, but it put a spotlight on artists outside the
vaunted pop realm.
Dan Auerbach, one-half of rock duo the Black Keys,
took home the most awards for the night, reeling in
four Grammys, including those for “Best Rock
Song” and “Best Rock Album.” While the Black
Keys won three awards in 2011, this year’s show
felt like a coming out party of sorts, which arguably
included the strongest live performance of the night
with “Lonely Boy.” The pair, however, were shut out
of the bigger categories of the night, namely
“Record Of The Year,” which went to Gotye, and
“Album of the Year,” which went to Mumford &
Accepting the award on behalf of his band, Marcus
Mumford and his so-called “sons” claimed the
show’s biggest prize, which despite their 12 total
nominations was only their second award (the band
had won earlier in the day for their role in the long-
form video winner Big Easy Express).
“We were in the [pre-telecast] stuff and we had six
nominations … and one after the other [the winner
was] like Black Keys, Black Keys,” said Mumford.
“We thought last year was Adele’s year and this
year was the Black Keys’ year… We didn’t really
care about winning.”
Some may see Mumford & Sons as representing a
return to commercial viability for Americana/folk.
Babel was the fourth biggest selling album in the
U.S. in 2012, moving 1.4 million units.
“They’re one of my favorite bands ever,” said “Best
Country Album” winner Zac Brown (of the Zac
Brown Band) about Mumford & Sons. “It’s great
seeing real music getting the spotlight.”
While some may debate electronic dance music
(EDM) and its place in “real music” there’s no
denying the genre’s growth at the award’s show.
Sonny Moore, better known as Skrillex, swept the
traditional EDM categories, winning three awards
for “Remix Recording,” “Dance Recording” and
“Dance/Electronica Album.” The number two
grossing electronic DJ with revenue of $15 million
in 2012, Skrillex is just one manifestation of how
the industry has turned its attention from typically
pop-focused electronic contributions to “the scene
that came out of the underground,” said Moore.
“The difference [now] is the culture we come from
is what’s getting the limelight,” he later added.
That limelight is coming not only from the
Recording Academy, but from the business side as
well. Officials at the International Music Summit
recently noted that the EDM industry could be worth
over $4 billion annually, and current negotiations
for DJ residency deals in places like Las Vegas
suggest that figure could be much bigger as more
revenue is derived from live shows as opposed to
album or song sales.
While the awards seemed spread out across various
artists this year when compared to 2012, one
nominee who came away empty-handed was Chris
Brown. Polarizing because of his out-of-studio
antics, he lost out to brawl partner Frank Ocean in
the “Urban Contemporary Album” category, and
was later singled out on Twitter for failing to give
the winner a standing ovation with the rest of the
If early indications are correct, it would also seem
as if CBS is another loser on the night. Last year’s
production was the second most-viewed show in
event history with 39 million tuning in, mainly
because of Whitney Houston’s death the night
before. Given the high bar set last year, it looks
nearly impossible to CBS to break that number.