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Fun. Times at the GRAMMYs Boost Music Sales
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Fun. Times at the GRAMMYs Boost Music Sales

By David Bakula, SVP Client Insights, Nielsen

In looking at music sales after the 55th GRAMMY Awards this past Sunday, it’s clear that the Award Show Effect is alive and well. More than 28 million viewers in the U.S. watched the music industry’s big night, which inspired many of them to quickly seek out their favorites and add them to their collections. To get a sense of the true impact that the GRAMMYs have on sales, Nielsen compared sales of performed, nominated and award-winning music following the show with sales of the same music the week before the show.

Album of the Year: Mumford & Sons’ Babel

Sales of Babel increased 50 percent from the prior week. Sales of “I Will Wait,” the song the group performed at the show, increased by 116 percent. The show even fueled a 37-percent spike in sales of Mumford & Sons’ prior album, Sigh No More, which came out three years ago.

Record of the Year: Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” featuring Kimbra

Even though he’s been making music for years, Gotye jumped into the spotlight a little over a year ago with the release of Making Mirrors, which has helped the Belgium-born Australian artist sell more than seven million copies of “Somebody That I Used To Know,” the song he recorded with New Zealander Kimbra. This week, sales of the track climbed 101 percent and sales of the album increased 124 percent. In addition to winning record of the year, the song also picked up the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Gotye’s Making Mirrors won the GRAMMY for Best Alternative Music Album.

Song of the Year: Fun.’s “We Are Young,” featuring Janelle Monae

Fun.’s “We Are Young” has already achieved great success in sales, selling more than six million songs sold to date. This week, sales of the song increased 182 percent and sales of the band’s album Some Nights increased 87 percent. Fun. performed their song “Carry On,” which propelled a 138 percent increase in sales from the prior week. Fun. also won the GRAMMY Award for Best New Artist.

The Tributes

But it wasn’t just new artists that benefitted from this year’s GRAMMYs, as the annual awards show always pays tribute to artists that paved the road for today’s trendsetters. This year, some of today’s brightest stars performed tributes that honored groundbreaking artists like Patti Page, Carole King, Bob Marley, Dave Brubeck, Levon Helm of The Band, and The Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch. Sales of Bob Marley’s Legend album (+81% over prior week), The Band’s greatest hits package (+203%) and Dave Brubeck’s song “Take Five” (+248%) showed that the GRAMMY audience fondly remembers music’s past as well as its future.

Other Big Winners

  • The Black Keys parlayed five nominations into three wins. Sales of their album El Camino, which won the Best Rock Album honors, are up 72 percent from the prior week.
  • Frank Ocean was nominated for six awards and secured two wins, and sales of his album Channel Orange have climbed 140 percent over the last week.
  • Kanye West and Jay-Z each picked up three awards, and sales of their collaborative album Watch the Throne are up 139 percent.
  • Kelly Clarkson, who won for Best Pop Vocal Album for her album Stronger, saw sales increase 51 percent over the prior week.

You Don’t Have to Win to “Win”

But better sales aren’t necessarily contingent on winning a GRAMMY. Artists that are nominated, or perform during the show, can often see great sales increases. Taylor Swift opened the show by performing her single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Sales of the track are up 10 percent, while sales of her album RED are up 20 percent. Multiple-nominee Hunter Hayes (nominated for Best New Artist, Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Album) is seeing sales increases on his eponymous album of 46 percent over the prior week. Alabama Shakes—who were nominated twice, while singer Brittany Howard performing during the tribute to Levon Helm—also appears to be a big winner, despite not picking up an award. Sales of their album Boys & Girls are up 149 percent versus last week. Other performers and nominees with big week-over-week sales increases are Lumineers (album is up 21% and song “Ho Hey” is up 25%), Maroon 5 (album is up 59% and performed song “Daylight” is up 28%) and Miguel (performed song “Adorn” is up 229%).