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Tracking the Grammys: The most viral song doesn’t belong to Harry, Beyoncé, or Lizzo

Jenny Crawford

Every year the Grammys recognize outstanding achievements in the music industry, and awards are determined by the creators’ peers in the Recording Academy. Millions tune in to see if their favorite artist takes home an award, but many are disappointed as the music industry doesn’t always vote with the fans. This year, multiple upsets sparked debate among Grammy viewers who disagreed with the Recording Academys’ decisions (cue the BeyHive demanding a recount). 

Each member of the Recording Academy is only allowed to vote within their area of expertise. Well at Pex, our area of expertise is tracking audiovisual content across digital platforms, including the top social media sites. Last year we shared which Grammy winners fared best across the 25+ platforms we track, and saw that no 2022 award winners were also able to claim the Pex annual award title of Most Copied Song. Deloitte may do the official calculations for the Recording Academy, but Pex does the official calculations for social media. 

For the 24 songs we tracked, we found more than 1 million matches, with over 35 billion total views. Read on to see if the 2023 Grammy winners were also winners online.

Outside the Academy: Who was the most viral Grammy nominee?

Best New Artist 

Recognizes an artist whose eligibility-year release(s) achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and notably impacted the musical landscape.

Grammy winner: Samara Joy

Social winner: Måneskin

Samara Joy is a 23-year-old jazz singer from the Bronx, NY, who went viral for her cover of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Take Love Easy”, which ultimately led to her record deal with Verve Records. While she may have taken home the Grammy for Best New Artist, and had a viral video on social media, Samara did not fare as well on the Pex charts. We only found 35 matches of her song “Guess Who I Saw Today”, from her debut album, Linger Awhile.

The Best New Artist according to social media? Måneskin. Congrats to the band on winning Pex’s Most Viral Song! Please consider this blog their official award.

Måneskin is an Italian band that took second place on “X Factor” in 2017, and took over TikTok with their remake of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ “Beggin” in 2022. We found more than 260K matches of “Beggin’”, which was the most-copied song of the 24 nominations we tracked, with views totaling over 5 billion. While Måneskin may be the best new artist according to our data, their viral track is a cover of an old hit song. We’ve seen a surge in catalog sales, most recently Justin Bieber selling his catalog to Hipgnosis Songs Capital for around $600 million, and this kind of success for a cover version is exactly the ROI investors are looking for. Måneskin has surely made Beggin’s composition rightsholders very happy. 

Coming in second place is Latto (legal name Alyssa Stephens), a 24-year-old rapper and songwriter who was nominated for two Grammys this year, including Best New Artist and Best Melodic Rap Performance. After winning the reality competition “The Rap Game” in 2016, Latto turned down a record deal but later signed with RCA Records and released her second studio album, from which the first single “Big Energy,” was nominated. We found over 26K matches of “Big Energy,” with combined views totaling over 432 million. 

Total category matches: 292,831

Total category views: 6,784,536,902

Record of the Year 

Focuses on a specific recording and recognizes the artists, producers and engineers who contributed to that recording.

Grammy winner: “About Damn Time” – Lizzo

Social winner: “As It Was” – Harry Styles

Lizzo’s smash hit “About Damn Time” was released in April 2022 and was nominated for both Record and Song of the Year. “About Damn Time” was released with an accompanying TikTok dance that quickly went viral, so it’s no surprise the song has over 145k matches with over 6 billion total views. But while Lizzo was busy winning this Grammy, Harry Styles was busy topping the Pex social chart. “As it Was” was the most copied Record of the Year nomination, and the second most-copied song overall, with more than 210K matches and 7 billion total views. 

“About Damn Time” came in second in the Record of the Year category, followed by Doja Cat’s “Woman”, which garnered nearly 99K matches. 

Total category matches: 618, 245

Total category views: 21,231,472,660

Song of the Year 

Focuses on the composition of a song and recognizes the songwriters who wrote it.

Grammy winner: “Just Like That” – Bonnie Rait

Social winner: “As It Was” – Harry Styles 

Talk about an upset! Song of the Year certainly has people talking as many were surprised to see Bonnie Rait take home the Grammy, including Bonnie herself. While she may have outdone Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Adele to cinch the win, she couldn’t come out on top of the social charts. We only found 23 matches of “Just Like That”, which was the least-copied song out of all the nominations we tracked. 

The most-copied song in this category once again goes to Harry Styles for “As It Was” with Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” following up in second, as we saw with Record of the Year. Gayle’s “abcdefu” came in third place with about 138K matches, and Adele, who took home the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance, took fourth place on this chart, with nearly 84K matches.  

Total category matches: 676,548

Total category views: 26,724,608,124


The takeaway: No amount of online success can influence Grammy voters  

For the second year, we see that Grammy winners don’t always align with how popular an artist or song was online. While The Grammys did try to incorporate some of music’s biggest fans by bringing in Album of the Year admirers to lobby for their favorite nominee, winners are ultimately decided by members of the music industry, not the general public. The 2021 Grammys faced backlash for its “secret” nomination-review committees, and despite some changes, is still reviewed as being out of touch, likely due to the disconnect between winners and their popularity with Grammy viewers. With social media platforms, especially TikTok, fueling some of the biggest hits these days, it’s surprising that online success is still not incorporated into awards like the Grammys. Embracing virality as a key success metric could bring the Grammys more in line with pop culture, and close the gap between voters and viewers. 

View the full list of our tracked Grammy-nominated songs and artists below. 

Want to learn how you can use Pex technology to track your content online? Reach out on our contact page.




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