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INTRODUCTION
By Joanna Piacenza

The music industry will gather Sunday for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards to honor some of the best in the business.

 

Instead of waiting for the Recording Academy’s group of industry insiders to crown its favorite crooners, a Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter survey asked consumers who they think should win some of the most popular categories, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Song. Respondents could play each nominated song, or each nominated album or artist’s most popular song, before voting in the poll.

 

In the analysis below, we also compared the general public’s vote with that of younger (ages 18-29) listeners, along with other data-driven insights on how the music industry is changing.

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ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Share who said each album should win the Grammy for Album of the Year

Forty-three percent of adults offered no opinion or said they didn’t know. More information and methodology here.

ALL ADULTS
Black Panther: The Album 14%
Scorpion 10%
Invasion of Privacy 9%
Beerbongs & Bentleys 7%
Golden Hour 7%
By the Way, I Forgive You 5%
H.E.R. 3%
Dirty Computer 2%
AGES 18-29
Invasion of Privacy 20%
Black Panther: The Album 18%
Beerbongs & Bentleys 17%
Scorpion 14%
H.E.R. 5%
Golden Hour 3%
By the Way, I Forgive You 2%
Dirty Computer 2%
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FOR THE LOVE OF SOUNDTRACKS

Film soundtracks resonated well with audiences this past year. Five songs from the soundtrack to “A Star Is Born” made it to the Billboard 100, and the album has spent 16 weeks on the Billboard 200 as of Feb. 4. Soundtracks for “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” also did well with consumers in 2018 — and are continuing to do well into 2019.

 

The public chose the soundtrack to Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” as this year’s winner for Album of the Year, featuring music from artists such as Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd. The soundtrack broke a record for first-week, on-demand streams for any soundtrack, per Nielsen Holdings PLC data, with 138.9 million on-demand audio streams for its songs during the week ending Feb. 15, 2018.

 

The way people are listening to music is changing: In October 2017, Billboard announced a shift in how it would tabulate its charts beginning in 2018 to greater emphasize streaming.

 

And music sales are swinging up, thanks to streaming services.

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STREAMING'S STEADY DOMINATION
Recorded music U.S. revenues by format show the rise in streaming and decline in physical formats

Source: Morning Consult analysis of The Recording Industry Association of America data

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HOW WE'RE LISTENING TO MUSIC IS CHANGING

Recorded music revenues hit $8.7 billion in 2017, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, up from $7.5 billion in 2016. (Full-year figures for 2018 are not yet available, although RIAA’s mid-year report indicates streaming’s continued success.)

 

Streaming now makes up a majority of music revenue in the country, replacing physical forms such as CDs and vinyls.

 

Consumer impatience plays a big role in streaming’s success, said Mark Kelley, an executive director and analyst covering media and tech for the financial holding company Nomura Holdings Inc.

While instant play is something both digital downloads and streaming offer, the former has ticked down in revenues as the latter has blown up. Consumers’ increasing comfort with the idea of “renting music” vis-à-vis streaming, Kelley said, is why the format has really taken off.

 

Streaming brought in $270 million in U.S. revenue in 2007, per RIAA data, or about 2.5 percent of revenue overall. Streaming brought $5.7 billion in revenue in 2017, making up 65 percent of all industry revenues. Worldwide, streaming was the biggest revenue generator, bringing in 38 percent of all revenue, a higher share than physical sales (30 percent), per the nonprofit International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

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BEST NEW ARTIST
Share who said each artist or group should win the Grammy for Best New Artist

Fifty-one percent of adults offered no opinion or said they didn’t know. More information and methodology here.

ALL ADULTS
Luke Combs 13%
Bebe Rexha 8%
Dua Lipa 7%
H.E.R. 7%
Greta Van Fleet 6%
Chloe X Halle 3%
Jorja Smith 3%
Margo Price 2%
AGES 18-29
Dua Lipa 16%
Luke Combs 16%
Bebe Rexha 15%
H.E.R. 11%
Chloe X Halle 5%
Greta Van Fleet 4%
Jorja Smith 3%
Margo Price 1%
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GRAMMY'S GENDER GAP
Men made up the majority of Grammy nominees in 2013-2018

Source: University of Southern California “Inclusion in the Recording Studio?” Jan. 2018 report

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INCLUSION IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

The Recording Academy faced criticism last year for its dearth of female nominees, and just one woman, Alessia Cara, won a major solo award. Activists brought the fight to social media with the hashtag #GrammysSoMale.

 

By comparison, of the 1,239 artists who were attached to 600 songs appearing on the Billboard Hot 100 charts from 2012-2017, roughly 17 percent were women, according to a January 2018 report from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The Grammys have long been male-dominated, with women making up less than  10 percent of all nominations from 2013-2018, the report said.

 

The Recording Academy did not respond to a request for comment.

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RECORD OF THE YEAR
Share who said each record should win the Grammy for Record of the Year

Thirty-eight percent of adults offered no opinion or said they didn’t know. More information and methodology here.

ALL ADULTS
Shallow 17%
God's Plan 10%
I Like It 9%
Rockstar 7%
The Middle 6%
This is America 6%
All The Stars 4%
The Joke 4%
AGES 18-29
I Like It 19%
This is America 17%
Rockstar 14%
God's Plan 12%
All The Stars 7%
Shallow 6%
The Middle 6%
The Joke 2%
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SONG OF THE YEAR
Share who said each song should win the Grammy for Song of the Year

Thirty-eight percent of adults offered no opinion or said they didn’t know. More information and methodology here.

ALL ADULTS
Shallow 19%
God's Plan 10%
This is America 9%
Boo'd Up 7%
In My Blood 5%
The Middle 5%
All The Stars 4%
The Joke 3%
AGES 18-29
This is America 19%
Boo'd Up 16%
God's Plan 12%
In My Blood 9%
Shallow 9%
All The Stars 8%
The Middle 6%
The Joke 1%
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BEST RAP SONG
Share who said each song should win the Grammy for Best Rap Song

Fifty-eight percent of adults offered no opinion or said they didn’t know. More information and methodology here.

ALL ADULTS
God's Plan 23%
King's Dead 5%
Lucky You 5%
Sicko Mode 5%
Win 3%
AGES 18-29
God's Plan 32%
Sicko Mode 17%
King's Dead 8%
Lucky You 7%
Win 4%
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THE YEAR OF DRAKE

Drake has sold more digital singles than any other artist in history with 142 million units, per RIAA tabulations, beating out Rihanna (125 million units), Taylor Swift (120 million units) and Eminem (107.5 million units). Nielsen Music even dubbed 2018 “The Year of Drake” in its year-end report.

Drake was also Spotify Technology SA’s most-streamed artist on the platform in 2018, with 8.2 billion streams. The Canadian artist and producer’s song “God’s Plan,” which was nominated for both Record and Song of the Year and Best Rap Song, was the most streamed song, and his 2018 album “Scorpion” was the most streamed album.

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DRAKE DOMINATES DIGITAL SALES
Digital singles sales of certified units in millions

Source: The Recording Industry Association of America

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BEST R&B SONG
Share who said each song should win the Grammy for Best R&B Song

Fifty-three percent of adults offered no opinion or said they didn’t know. More information and methodology here.

ALL ADULTS
Long As I Live 14%
Boo'd Up 13%
Feels Like Summer 10%
Come Through and Chill 6%
Focus 5%
AGES 18-29
Boo'd Up 29%
Come Through and Chill 12%
Feels Like Summer 12%
Focus 5%
Long As I Live 5%
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BEST ROCK SONG
Share who said each song should win the Grammy for Best Rock Song

Fifty-eight percent of adults offered no opinion or said they didn’t know. More information and methodology here.

ALL ADULTS
Black Smoke Rising 12%
Jumpsuit 10%
Rats 7%
Mantra 5%
Masseduction 3%
AGES 18-29
Jumpsuit 20%
Black Smoke Rising 8%
Mantra 8%
Rats 7%
Masseduction 3%
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BEST COUNTRY SONG
Share who said each song should win the Grammy for Best Country Song

Forty-seven percent of adults offered no opinion or said they didn’t know. More information and methodology here.

ALL ADULTS
When Someone Stops Loving You 13%
I Lived It 12%
Tequila 11%
Space Cowboy 7%
Break Up In The End 6%
Dear Hate 4%
AGES 18-29
Tequila 17%
Break Up In The End 10%
I Lived It 8%
When Someone Stops Loving You 8%
Space Cowboy 7%
Dear Hate 5%
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COUNTRY'S CONSISTENCY

Despite its name, popular music is not the most loved genre — that prize goes to country music, per a January 2018 CBS News poll of 1,009 adults nationwide. The largest share (21 percent) of adults said country was their favorite type of music, followed by rock (18 percent) and popular music (14 percent).

 

And country appears to have better staying power among consumers: Dan + Shay’s “Tequila,” voted Best Country Song among young adults in the Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter survey, lasted longer on the Billboard Hot 100 than young adults’ choice for Song of the Year, Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” although it never rose to the coveted No. 1 spot like Donald Glover’s hit song did.

 

“Tequila” spent 38 weeks on the chart, compared to 17 weeks for “This is America.”

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