The Grammy Awards were held for the 66th annual time this past week. The show is always full of monumental moments, triumphant or controversial. It is also a perfect look into the music industry and the trends that are currently happening. From the acts performing to the artists winning, much of the show can be read into. 

One of the main events at the concert is all the different acts performing their hit songs. One of the performances that stick out is Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs performing his cover of her hit “Fast Car.” Covers and remixes have always been a large part of the music industry. Some genres, including hip-hop, have significant contributions due to sampling other artist’s materials. In 2023, the idea of taking an older popular song and adding a new twist to it became one of the significant trends, leading to songs becoming major hits. Luke Comb’s cover of Tracy Chapman’s late ‘80s hit peaked at number 2 on the Billboard charts, four spots higher than the original ever got to.

Another example of this can be seen with Miley Cyrus. She performed her hit song “Flowers” at the Grammys. “Flowers” interpolates Bruno Mars's hit song “When I Was Your Man” from twelve years ago. Not only did the new adaptation reach the top spot on the Billboard, but it broke the record for the longest a female artist had stayed at the top once it reached 25 weeks

Another remix that has changed the music industry is sped-up versions of popular songs. With the emergence of TikTok, Instagram reels, and other forms of short-form content, giving the user as much information as possible and as quickly as possible has been a moving trend in marketing. This has seeped into the music industry with sped-up versions of already released songs. Songs like Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” and SZA’s “Kill Bill” got so many views under fan-made sped-up versions that the artists themselves decided to release official high-speed versions of their hit tracks. Along with many other artists, this has been seen as a marketing tactic to get hit songs on the short-form content. Apps like TikTok have been crucial in helping build up smaller artists into more significant careers, and this trend is one way artists can find a way into the algorithm. 

Another big takeaway from the Grammys was that women swept the big four categories for the seventh time ever. The big four categories at the Grammys are album of the year, record of the year, song of the year, and best new artist. These awards were won by Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, and Victoria Monet, respectively. In the first 40 years of the Grammys, that had only happened twice, in 1972 at the 14th award show and ten years later in 1982 at the 24th. The number of women leading the industry has seen an upward trend as in the last twenty years, the women’s sweep has been done an impressive five times. Three of these times have happened since 2020. The trend of higher streams for female artists hasn’t been a consistent gain. Still, in 2022, the share of female artists in the music industry hit 30%, the highest it has been since gender representation in the sector was investigated. 

The Grammys introduced a new category in 2024 for Best African Music Performance. The popularity of musicians from African countries has increased over the past few years, and this gives them another opportunity to win, as the two broad global awards were the only other chance that traditionally they were nominated for. While the Grammys are trying to become more internationally aware, the award only accounts for artists from three countries: Benin, South Africa, and Nigeria. The award has received some pushback from other African artists as it doesn’t fully cover the country’s diversity. All the songs nominated were fully English or predominantly sung in English, even though there are an estimated 2,000 “living languages in Africa. Overall, while the Grammys are trying to open up the awards to a more international audience, the changes have not yet had a sufficient impact.

The Grammys are always fun to watch. You have your favorite artists you are rooting for and countless talented acts you can watch from the comfort of your home. It is also an exciting look into the music industry as a whole and what sort of trends are leading the way.

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