GRAMMYs 2020: From Kobe Bryant Tributes to Google and TikTok

Chanel Wayne

By: Chanel Wayne

Director, Strategy


Award season is well underway and the music industry's biggest night did not disappoint.

The lead up to the 62nd Grammy Awards was already surrounded by controversy and the show aired under the shadow of the tragic death of one of the most iconic men ever to play the game of basketball, former Lakers player Kobe Bryant. There were some beautiful stories, moments and tributes that emerged; the recording academy controversy was seemingly overshadowed by the palpable sense of loss in the Staples Center and around the world.  The show went on as music's biggest names gathered under Kobe Bryant’s number 8 and 24 jerseys hanging from the rafters.

Opening Tribute to Kobe

Opening Tribute to Kobe

It was obviously not something that Alicia Keys or Boyz II Men could have planned or had much time to rehearse. The ceremony kicked off with opening remarks and an impromptu musical tribute to address and honor the man on everyone’s mind. It all flowed seamlessly and Keys used the moment to focus on the message of positivity which some feel was also a way of moving on from the controversy which could have taken the ceremony in a very different direction.

Google’s “The Most Searched” Campaign Kicks Off Black History Month

Black History Month

Google aired their :90 spot to highlight black history makers and moments that were searched more than any other across categories. The results pull from data as far back as 2004 and is complemented by an interactive experience featuring a total of 24 makers and moments with each featuring a short profile. An interesting move to not wait until the Super Bowl to air this ad and likely a very smart gamble.  It was for sure one of the most written and spoken about moments of the Grammys outside the actual performances.

TikTok Births a Star

TikTok Births a Star

Some may forget Lil Nas X’s humble beginnings on Tik Tok. He is now a Grammy Award Winner, taking home the award for Best Music Video and  Best Pop/Duo Group Performance for Old Town Road.  Given the enormous success and growth of the platform, we suspect this is just the beginning of more stars being discovered. Could we see a new category emerge; “Most talented TikTok’er”?


Criticism spotlighting a lack of diversity is a theme that has become too common across industries and organizations entrusted to recognize and reward artists for contributions to their respective fields. And early ratings showing a nearly 3 Million viewer deficit from 2019, The Recording Academy (as well as other awards shows) has its work cut out for it over the next year. The music industry continues to evolve, the way people engage with and discover music is changing with it. The Recording Academy will need to adapt to these changes and ensure proper representation in order to continue to properly serve artists and consumers moving forward.




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