Grammys Score Best TV Ratings in 11 Years

Many winners and performers see sales bumps after 26 million people watch the awards show

February 15, 2011 9:50 AM ET
Mick Jagger performs at the Grammy awards on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Mick Jagger performs at the Grammy awards on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The Grammy Awards Sunday night were watched by 26.66 million viewers, the largest audience for the ceremony in 11 years. Viewership was up by three percent from 2010, and the broadcast performed better in the 18-to-49 demographic than it had since 2004.

Photos: Best 2011 Grammy Moments: Lady Gaga, Bob Dylan and More

Unsurprisingly, the large audience resulted in a sales bump for some of the big winners and less famous acts featured in the broadcast. Full sales figures will not be available until next week, but according to Eric Garland of the digital research firm Big Champagne, preliminary data from iTunes reported spikes in sales for Song of the Year and Record of the Year winner Lady Antebellum, Album of the Year winner Arcade Fire and surprise Best New Artist winner Esperanza Spalding.

Photos: The 2011 Grammy Awards Red Carpet: Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry and more

The British folk rock group Mumford & Sons also saw a significant boost in digital sales after their performance with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers. According to their American label Glassnote Entertainment, sales of the band's album Sigh No More increased significantly, pushing it to the top of both iTunes and Amazon's digital album charts.

Grammy awards watched by more than 26 million in US [BBC]

Grammy show a sales winner for performers [L.A. Times]

Arcade Fire, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga Win Big at the Grammys
Grammy Awards: Complete Coverage
Rob Sheffield's Real-Time Reactions

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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