Grammy Awards Getting Performances Online Soon, But Not On YouTube

24 hours following the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, the question was where’s the online content from the Recording Academy’s most online-ever show? And the answer is, 48 hours later: On its way.

While official clips from the show have been sparse since Sunday, approximately 50-75 percent of the live performances from this year’s awards will be up for purchase on iTunes as of tonight, according to chief marketing officer Evan Greene. This will include some of the night’s most discussed numbers, including Beyonce, Green Day performing with the cast of American Idiot, and Lady Gaga dueting with Sir Elton John.

Most will be available as video and audio packages, and in the case of Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli’s duet of Bridge Over Troubled Water, 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Haiti relief.

The reason it has taken so long to get this content online is that the negotiation over rights to the 16 performances from Sunday’s show is being handled with each rights holder individually. “With anything related to audio or visual performance, making sure rights holders are comfortable with how their intellectual property is used is the most important thing to us,” Greene said via phone.

For example, only the audio from country group Lady Antebellum’s rendition of Need You Now will be released, because during their performance, a curtain fell on the lead singer. While the band was comfortable with the song being released, they declined to make the video available (though a bootleg can be found here).

In addition, tonight five performances from the show will go live on the GRAMMYs Vevo channel, with plans to add more underway. Greene was not able to confirm whether or not all the clips available on iTunes would eventually be viewable on Vevo: “It’s not really up to us. We encourage the artist to make the content available, but some people want it to be available in one place and not another. In all cases it’s their decision, and we respect and abide by what they choose.”

As for the Grammys official YouTube account, it’s currently being updated with clips from the pre-telecast awards ceremony (the complete video from which is also available on demand) and other video. Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Country Song has reached over 800,000 views.

What you won’t find on YouTube, Greene confirmed, are any of the live performances from the show. However, bootlegs of Grammys performances, two days after the fact, are currently dominating the YouTube Most Viewed page — in some cases racking up millions of views.

While the most popular have been struck down as copyright infringement, impatient fans are still able to get what they’re looking for — and the Grammys fail to profit from the success of their own show. A successful post-game for next year is dependent on streamlining the rights process — because the problem is that the Internet will never exactly be known as a patient place, or a place where the average user particularly cares about waiting for permission.


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