As with last year, the Grammys are rolling out three days of live-streamed programming to accompany this year’s awards show, which airs Sunday Feb. 13. But while last year, the Recording Academy turned to Myspace for hosting duties, this year, Grammy Live will be streamed via YouTube’s in-beta live-streaming service — YouTube’s longest live-stream yet.
Chief Marketing Officer Evan Greene said the choice to use YouTube came with the success of events like last year’s live-streamed Arcade Fire concert, and partnering with the site means a new edge in promotion.
“We really wanted to use a platform to help amplify what consumers clearly responded to last year, and we thought that YouTube provided the best solution to providing a dynamic user experience across a really global platform. The addition of YouTube allows us to reach a lot more people — they can help promote it in a meaningful and aggressive way,” Greene said. The stream will be hosted on Grammy.com as well as youtube.com/theGRAMMYs.
For YouTube, taking on Grammy Live means proving that they can handle an event of this magnitude. “It helps both of us elevate our game,” VP of Digital Media Peter Anton added.
Grammy Live will be not be geoblocked, and will run for three days straight beginning Friday, Feb. 11 with the second annual Social Media Summit (featuring Chamillionaire).
Following that will be red carpet coverage and behind-the-scenes access to Music Cares, a private event honoring Barbra Streisand; on Saturday, there’s coverage around the Merit Awards, including live acceptance speeches from honorees like Julie Andrews and Dolly Parton. Sunday, red carpet coverage for the main ceremony is followed by the complete broadcast of the pre-telecast awards and reception, in which the 80-odd awards not presented during the CBS broadcast are handed out. This event will include five live performances. Following that, Grammy Live kicks into two-screen mode for the official ceremony, with a variety of camera angles and archived clips mirroring the CBS broadcast experience.
Filling in the gaps in the three-day live stream are classic Grammys moments from the past fifty-odd years, but don’t come to the live stream looking for live performances. Because of the difficulty in getting artist and management approval for those performances, the classic Grammys moments featured during the live stream will be focused on acceptance speeches and interviews, and very limited in terms of performances. The five performances from the pre-telecast awards are the only guaranteed musical moments of the live stream.
Live performances in general present a huge challenge for the Grammys, because before an official clip can be uploaded, the artists and their representation have to issue their approval — meaning if Eminem isn’t happy with his performance on show night, it could never be officially released.
This was the cause of the delays that frustrated many last year, and unfortunately, little can be done to fix the problem. While Greene said they’re trying to get as many pre-approvals as possible, and their goal is to get performances up the night of the show, they can’t predict how those performances will actually turn out or whether there will be difficulties with the approval process.
As soon as those performances are approved, though, they will be available on both iTunes and Vevo. “I think last year we did better than we’ve ever done before, and this year will be even better,” Greene said. “But approvals are always the X factor. Is it going to be perfect this year? Probably not. But we do keep taking a few steps forward every time.”
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