And the winner is: IBM at the Grammys


This year’s Grammy Awards, as usual, attracted worldwide interest.

Maybe it’s of no significance to you who won or who lost out: but perhaps it should be, because it’s a perfectly executed example of just how much artificial intelligence is now transforming our everyday lives.

The presenters behind the Grammys since 1958, the Recording Academy, teamed up with IBM to integrate Watson’s AI into the red-carpet experience.

Why was IBM the right partner for the Grammys?

Because, as Evan Greene, Chief Marketing Officer at the Recording Academy explained when the partnership was first announced, “they’re one of the most forward-looking technology companies on the planet.”

The result is GRAMMYconnect, a platform designed to play host to an amazing collection of content that both celebrates music and those who create it, while heightening the experience of the millions who watch the Grammys.


Taking the power of AI to the Grammys 2020

The Recording Academy not only wanted to streamline the production process around the Grammys red carpet experience and, but also bring fans even closer to the music and musicians they love.

An action-packed night of music and celebrity, recognising the promise of new acts, the accomplishments of legendary artists, and everything in between, the Grammys is globally recognised as music’s biggest night for a reason.

And this year IBM Watson’s analytics capabilities were unceremoniously working away in the background, enhancing the fans’ experience on music’s biggest night by providing the right insights at exactly the right time.

Although unrecognised for its contribution to the night’s glamorous proceedings, GRAMMYconnect was swiftly yet tirelessly adding interesting facts and context to not only the red-carpet live stream, but also to the on-demand videos and photos being continuously streamed across the event’s website.


How does it work?

To make the Grammys Live Stream experience come alive for fans around the world, GRAMMYconnect was put to hard, unstinting work throughout what was an almost seven-hour long show.

It had to analyse a wealth of unstructured data, including countless hours of video and well over a hundred thousand photos.

More amazingly still, it was also monitoring the emotional tone of the Grammy-nominated song lyrics and the many speeches, utilising a mix of Natural Language Understanding, Speech to Text, and Watson Discovery.

At the same time, it was analysing over 18 million articles, blogs and bios to produce bite-sized insights on hundreds of GRAMMY artists and celebrities to quickly serve up relevant facts to the Recording Academy’s editorial team.


The Grammys 2020 Full Show Monitored and Analysed 

GRAMMYconnect’s thorough analysis of so many innumerable photos, articles, and live video streams undoubtedly boosted the fans’ enjoyment of the night’s coverage.

Even so, there was an undoubted air of disappointment for those hoping their favourite acts might once again carry home a well-deserved award.

Popular internet searches this year included Rihanna Grammys, Beyonce Grammys, and Dua Lipa Grammys: yet, although these artists might well have been in attendance, with the latter presenting prizes, this year they weren’t taking anything away to proudly display on their mantelpiece.

An exception was ‘Lady Gaga Grammys’, which would reward the hopeful searcher with the wonderful news that their favoured star had lifted the awards for both Best Song Written for Visual Media, with I’ll Never Love Again, and Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media, with A Star Is Born.

Anyone searching out John Legend, The Jonas Brothers, Blake Shelton, Camila Cabello, or BTS were probably already aware that their favourite artists would be putting on barnstorming performances: but performers Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X, and Lizzo also picked up a choice selection of awards.

Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus took Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, as well as Best Music Video (Old Town Road).

Lizzo hit three top spots with Best Pop Solo Performance (Truth Hurts), Best Urban Contemporary Album (Cuz I Love You), and Best Traditional R&B Performance (Jerome).

And if you were searching for teen sensation Billie Eilish; well, like her, you hit gold time and time again.

She swept the awards, picking up the prizes in all four major categories.

Album of The Year: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Record of The Year: Bad Guy

Song of The Year: Bad Guy

Best New Artist: Billie Eilish

Maybe Tanya Tucker, who won her first ever Grammy for Best Country Song with Bring My Flowers Now, is grateful Billie wasn’t eligible for this category.

As Billie stepped up on stage to receive the award for Album of The Year, she gracefully and modestly declared:

“I think Ariana deserves this.”

So maybe fans of Grammy performer Ariana Grande could reasonably claim their favourite artist at least received a mention amongst the awards.


Looking Back

This isn’t the first time that IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence capabilities have been utilised by the Grammy Awards to air and stream a better informed, more entertaining coverage.

Earlier versions of GRAMMYconnect, such as GRAMMY Insights, were equally successfully deployed at earlier events. You can read about the experience and results regarding the 2019 and 2018 Grammy Award ceremonies via previous blogs on the subject

As you may have already realised, the same IBM Watson artificial intelligence technology and capabilities that fuel both GRAMMYconnect and GRAMMY Insights are also already being utilised by IBM clients and partners worldwide.

IBM Watson can be applied to virtually any industry, from hip-hop to healthcare, indie rock to investment banking, rock and roll to oil and gas.

The AI behind GRAMMYconnect is the same technology used to help oncologists, mine medical research, and match cancer patients to thousands of ongoing clinical trials.

It’s the same technology used to help investment banks, improve farmers’ ability to maintain crop and animal health, or uncover hidden insights, either from enterprise data or millions of articles and blogs.

It’s all down to what you and your clients want to do with all the data and information each enterprise manages to accumulate.


Looking Forward

With your help, we can put smart to work and change the world.

You can start by accessing your 1-year free trial of Watson Assistant to build and deploy the smartest AI-powered chatbots around.

Would you like to know more about how IBM is helping to transform the way people work and live every day?

IBM’s route to AI-enabled digital transformation lets you extract data value empowering your and your clients’ business growth.

While the only hybrid multicloud offering full control allows you to leverage open technologies and innovate anywhere, optimising, moving and securely managing workloads across all clouds.

We can’t promise that you’ll be amongst next year’s Grammy Award Winners; but you’ll certainly be capable of award-winning capabilities when it comes to applying AI-enabled tech to its best advantage.

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