The seemingly endless Grammy Awards telecast Sunday night also unleashed a near-endless stream of tweets about English warblers, Madge the Matador, stage-charging hip-hoppers and much else. In all, Twitter said, 20.9 million tweets were posted in the nearly seven-hour window around the show’s East Coast live broadcast, and those tweets were viewed a whopping 1.6 billion times around the world.
To some extent, the huge numbers are no surprise with a premier music-related event that lasts for hours and hours…and hours. Musicians have been far more effective than most actors and even many athletes in building big followings on Twitter. And the worldwide reach of the biggest pop stars carries over to their social-media followings, especially on awards night.
For Sunday, the biggest spike on a “tweets-per-minute” basis came with Beck’s win of the top prize, Album of the Year, which in turn caused Kanye West to leap on stage in a not-quite reprise of his stage bombing a few years back when Taylor Swift beat out another of Yeezus’ favored alternatives.
Other big tweet generators included Madonna’s performance in a glammed-out bullfighter outfit and Sam Smith’s Record of the Year win, his fourth statue of what was a great night for a man who was virtually unknown just 18 months ago.
Smith and West topped the list of the night’s most-mentioned artists, followed by Beyonce Knowles (whom West was leaping to defend when she didn’t win album of the year), Ed Sheeran and Iggy Azalea (wearing an intricately braided hairdo worthy of a former leader of the Ukraine).
Of all those tweets, Nielsen said in its Twitter TV ratings that about 13 million tweets were seen in the United States by an unduplicated audience of almost exactly the same size. That’s considerably better than all but a couple of recent events, superceded only by the Super Bowl.
Below are the night’s most retweeted posts. Boy band 5 Seconds of Summer really stretched it out with their goofball post at No. 1, but actor Ansel Elgort, beloved of the Divergent/The Fault In Our Stars army out there came in second with a shout-out for Sam Smith. They were followed by two big thank yous from winner Lady Gaga and another from tween/teen favorite Ariana Grande. The number of retweets for each of them was truly boggling.