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Which Grammy winners fared best on social media?

Jimmy Lin

Music’s biggest night aired this past Sunday, and while not as controversial as the Academy Awards, the Grammys was still full of memorable moments, both good and bad. The touching tributes to Stephen Sondheim and Taylor Hawkins, along with the inspiring message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were welcome highlights. 

Despite past controversies, millions of people turned on their televisions to watch the show and were rewarded with six headliners in just the first hour. And while the Grammys is known for its live performances, most people now consume music via streaming or user-generated content (UGC). At Pex, we build copyright solutions for the creator economy and track the use of music in UGC across various social media platforms. We found that more than 84% of YouTube videos, 58% of Instagram videos, and nearly half of all Facebook videos contain music.  

Ahead of the Grammys, we tracked some of this year’s nominations to see which songs were the most copied on social media. For the 22 songs we tracked, we found more than 1.6 million copies, with more than 9.5 billion total views. Read on to see if the songs and artists who took home awards were also winners on social media. 

Grammy winners on social media: who was the most copied?

Record of the Year 

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

Grammy winner: “Leave the Door Open” – Silk Sonic

Social winner: “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Lil Nas X

“MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X was released in March 2021 and was nominated for both record and song of the year. Lil Nas X is no stranger to The Grammys, having received six nominations in 2020 for the remix of “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. With five nominations this year, it’s no surprise that “MONTERO” was the most copied song out of all Record of the Year nominations, garnering over 239K copies. 

Justin Bieber’s “Peaches” featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon came in second with nearly 148K copies, and Grammy winner “Leave the Door Open” by Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak (aka Silk Sonic) took third place with 131K copies. 

Total category copies: 785,729

Total category views: 6,527,723,800

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: Olivia Rodrigo 

Social winner: The Kid LAROI

The Kid LAROI is an 18-year-old Australian singer, rapper, and songwriter who was nominated for two Grammys this year, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year. You’ve probably heard his smash hit “Stay,” which features Justin Bieber and became one of just 15 number one songs to top Billboard’s Pop Airplay chart for at least 10 weeks. The track’s popularity was reflected in its virality on social media: we found the most copies for “Stay” out of the 29 Grammy nominated songs we tracked, with 385,403 copies totalling over 1.5 billion views. 

Coming in second is Glass Animals, who have been making music since 2010 but are still eligible for Best New Artist thanks to their social media sensation “Heat Waves.” We found more than 267K copies of “Heat Waves,” which was also our second most-copied song overall. 

Olivia Rodrigo won the coveted Grammy, but took third place in this category, which was one of her seven nominations at her first Grammy Awards. She is the second-youngest artist (behind Billie Eilish) to be nominated for the four top Grammy Awards: album, song, and record of the year, and best new artist. Good for you, Olivia. (See what we did there?)

Speaking of Billie Eilish, we found just shy of 39K copies for “Happier Than Ever,” which was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. 

Total category copies: 861,177

Total category views: 3,965,547,139

Song of the Year 

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

Grammy winner: “Leave the Door Open” – Silk Sonic 

Social winner: “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Lil Nas X

Bruno Mars, Olivia Rodrigo, and Ed Sheeran couldn’t knock “MONTERO” out of first place for most Song of the Year copies, but they did take the second, third, and fourth spots respectively.

“Leave the Door Open” won big at the Grammys and also took home the award for Song of the Year, but only claimed the number two spot on this chart. Olivia Rodrigio’s “drivers license” comes in third place with over 112K copies, and Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” gets an honorable mention for more than 66K copies. 

Total category copies: 590,434

Total category views: 4,683,234,564

The takeaway: online success does not equal industry recognition 

Virality on social media didn’t help predict any Grammy winners this year, but it is interesting to see how the most-copied songs compare to the real award winners, and wonder whether social media copies should play a bigger role during awards season. Factoring in the online success of music could bring more transparency and diversity to the nominations, especially as more and more artists call out the shortcomings of these awards shows. While the Recording Academy did eliminate the “secret” nomination-review committees in response to this backlash, it likely isn’t enough to bring equity to the awards on its own. Including more data-driven factors, such as the virality of a song online, could help provide a clearer picture of why an artist is nominated and ensure a more diverse set of nominees. 

While you’re waiting for the drama of next year’s award season to unfold, you can view the full list of our tracked Grammy-nominated songs below. 

Want to learn more about Pex’s copyright solutions or advanced digital rights technology? Reach out at [email protected] to speak with a member of our team. 


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