The 63rd annual Grammy Awards were watched by a live US television audience of 8.8 million viewers on Sunday evening (March 14th), a 53% decrease from last year. This emerges from time zone-adjusted national data from Nielsen.
Those 8.8 million viewers were nearly 10 million lower than the 18.7 million live TV viewers Nielsen counted for the 2020 Grammys.
The numbers also mean the edition of the 2021 ceremony hosted this year by South African comedian Trevor Noah was the least viewed Grammys of all time.
In fact, the 8.8 million viewers who attended the show in 2021 were nearly half the size of the audience for the previously under-viewed edition of the Grammys in 2006, when 17 million viewers watched.
Additionally, Nielsen reports that the 2021 Grammys only had a 2.1 rating for people between the ages of 18 and 49.
This rating number indicates the percentage of all adults of that age who watch television in the US who watched the Grammys that aired on CBS on Sunday.
In other words, only 2.1% of 18-49 year olds in the US stopped broadcasting Grammys TV on Sunday, 97.9% of them didn’t.
In 2020, the corresponding demographic rating figure was 5.4% and in 2019 it was 5.6%.
The Grammys aren’t the only U.S. awards show that has seen their TV ratings drop during the pandemic.
The Golden Globes audience fell 64% to 6.9 million viewers, while the American Music Awards drew only 3.8 million viewers in November – a 50% decrease from the previous year.
The pandemic could obviously have played a role in the reduced, socially distant, low TV ratings for Grammys on Sundays. Others, however, will wonder whether the ratings are merely reflecting a decrease in relevance to the Grammys and other awards shows (in their current formats) in the world today.
Outside of music, Netflix’s record 2020 subscriber numbers and record-breaking viewership for The Queen’s Gambit add to the argument that the right TV content – at the right time – still attracts blockbuster viewers.
Not even a performance by K-pop superstars BTS, who broke a virtual pay-per-view audience record for their own Bang Bang Con the Live concert in June, could help the Grammys increase their nightly viewership.
The real litmus test of future Grammys credibility will be the audience numbers drawn to the show in the first post-pandemic edition in 2022, when (fingers crossed) a full audience and larger production are ready to roll.Music business worldwide