The Grammy scorecard for artists places Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd among the big winners this year — but a look at labels and groups shows a tighter race.
Executives at the Universal Music Group and the Warner Music Group are, unofficially, each claiming 34 Grammy wins from their artists and songwriters, while Sony Music privately counts 32 wins. A2IM says its member labels’ artists were awarded 22 times.
Of course, each of these companies’ tallies gives the most generous interpretation of a win. So if an artist records with another artist on the second artist’s label, such as when Bruno Mars (Atlantic) sang on Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” issued by RCA; or when Justin Bieber (Island) sang on Skrillex (Atlantic) and Diplo’s “Where Are Ü Now,” you can bet your bottom dollar that both labels for both artists claimed that statue for themselves. Moreover, if an indie label is distributed by one of the majors, as Concord is by the Universal Music Group, you can bet both camps (UMG and A2IM) claimed that win.
By Billboard‘s count Sony Music and its subsidiary labels won 17 Grammys, not including publishing, with the lion’s share of 11 statues headed to RCA’s office, three to Columbia, three to Columbia/Legacy and one to Sony Latin. Billboard‘s count doesn’t include such instances as Jack Antonoff, a member of RCA recording act Bleachers, as the writer of a song on Taylor Swift’s album of the year winner,1989.
On the publishing side, Sony/ATV claimed 31 Grammy winners by its songs and songwriters, including Swift’s 1989, which won album of the year; and “Uptown Funk!,” which won record of the year.
At the Warner Music Group, executives there are claiming the wins for 18 of its recording artists and 16 of Warner/Chappell Music’s songwriters. Its big wins include Ed Sheeran winning the song of the year for “Thinking Out Loud” and Hamilton taking the musical theater album award.
At Universal Music Group, its 34 wins include four to Kendrick Lamar, including best rap album; two for The Weeknd, including the best urban contemporary album; Alabama Shakes winning best alternative album and two others; and Taylor Swift’s three. Universal Music Publishing group claimed 25 awards in a preliminary count, with its winners including D’Angelo and Jeff Bhaskar.
Finally, the indie label trade group A2IM also called last night a victory — with some of the artists already claimed by Sony and Warner. For example, by its tally it collects all of Big Machine’s wins (Taylor Swift) and ATO (the Alabama Shakes), as well as those from Concord, who’s Loma Vista label won best metal album for the band Ghost. Concord’s Rounder label saw its artists Steeldrivers win best bluegrass album.
Thirty Tigers also raked in some awards for A2IM, including best Americana album (Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free), best regional roots album (Jon Cleary,Go Go Juice), best roots gospel album (Fairfield Four, Still Rocking My Soul) and best American roots song (Jason Isbell, “24 Frames”).
In indie publishing, Kobalt said its songwriters Max Martin, Shellback, Ryan Tedder worked on Swift’s album of the year, also noting that another of Kobalt’s songwriter/artists, Lionel Richie, was the recipient of a tribute, along with Skrillex taking Best Dance Recording, among other awards.