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#AndTheNomineesAre: Grammy nominations go multi-platform

Friday morning, guitar-toting Brit Ed Sheeran and funk-pop guru Pharrell Wiliams appeared on “CBS This Morning” to announce the nominations for the 57th Grammy Awards, which will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2015.

Friday morning, multi-hyphenate Ryan Seacrest took to his radio show to announce nominations for the 57th Grammy Awards, which will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2015.

Friday morning, seven-time Grammy winner Alanis Morrissette went on Twitter and announced nominations for the 57th Grammy Awards, which will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2015.

Friday night, songbird Ariana Grande, funk-pop slicksters Maroon 5, and Williams will appear on the CBS special “A Very Grammy Christmas,” during which the nominations for the 57th Grammy Awards’ Album of the Year award will be announced.


All of the above statements are true, thanks to the multi-platform way that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is announcing the contenders for its golden gramophone statues this year.

Awards shows are huge events for popular culture; they offer network-TV exposure and official Event Status to movies, TV shows, music, and other worthy pieces of pop-culture effluvia.

These shows’ nomination announcements are also becoming events in their own right. Public reaction results in an alternate-universe ceremony where pundits in mass and social media weigh in with their dream rosters of winners, speculating on what the voting members of each academy will inevitably get wrong.

Traditionally, awards shows like the Oscars and Tonys have used early-morning press conferences to unveil their slates of nominees; morning talk shows simulcast them, and then the reactions tumble in throughout the day.

On Friday, though, the Grammys are trickling out the nominations in such a way that 82 of the 83 categories will have been announced by 2 p.m. Sheeran and Williams’s “CBS This Morning” appearance coincided with the first clutch of announcements, which included Record of the Year and best Pop Vocal Album. Seacrest’s radio announcement, of Best Pop Solo Performance, came shortly after that. The only category that will be announced on the Friday-evening CBS special is Album of the Year, one of the show’s “Big Four” genre-agnostic categories.


The bulk of the nominations made public on Friday have been announced on Twitter by Grammy-aligned musicians, whose tweets have been and will be dutifully reposted by the awards show’s main account as they come through.

This isn’t the first time that a major awards show has opted to use new technology for the purposes of making public its nominations slate. In July, MTV used the self-destructing messaging app Snapchat to announce its nominees for the 2014 Video Music Awards — although the nominees were posted in traditional fashion by MTV’s website shortly afterward.

This move is a curious one for the Grammys, who have tried using social media to bring the public more fully into the ceremony in previous years by holding contests for future performers on YouTube and inviting people to participate in a mass wedding at this year’s event. In some ways, it makes sense. Music was the first pop-culture segment to have its bottom line substantially affected by the rise of the Internet; bringing artists like emotive 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto and Vampire Weekend leader Ezra Koenig into the nomination-announcement fold places the Grammys in front of audience members who might not have been immediately aware of Friday’s announcement; dispersing the slate echoes how broad the Grammys’ purview is, with its 83 categories having to represent all sorts of music.


But what will its long-term effects be? The reactions to the nominations’ overall meaning will still spill out over the weekend, thanks to the crown-jewel Album of the Year award’s contenders being under wraps until late Friday. And the “pay attention to Twitter” strategy can, ultimately, be a bit wearying, with dozens of individually aggregated Tweets being lost in the wash of updates from friends and the 24-hour news cycle.

Thanks to the rise of social media and endlessly customizable entertainment options, the world of mass entertainment is breaking apart into sometimes-overlapping landscapes of niche amusements. The Grammys’ Twitter-announcement strategy is an attempt to bridge the two ideals, although whether it will be echoed by their awards-show peers (the Emmys on the video-sharing app Vine? The Tonys on the secret-swapping outlet Whisper?) remains to be seen.

Maura Johnston can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @maura.