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Grammy Awards facts for kids

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Grammy Award 2002.jpg
Presented by The Recording Academy
Country United States
First awarded May 4, 1959; 65 years ago (1959-05-04) (as Gramophone Award)
Television coverage
Network NBC (1959–1970)
ABC (1971–1972)
CBS (1973–present)

The Grammy Awards (stylized as GRAMMY), or simply known as the Grammys, are awards presented by the Recording Academy of the United States to recognize "outstanding" achievements in the music industry. They are regarded by many as the most prestigious and significant awards in the music industry worldwide. They were originally called the Gramophone Awards, as the trophy depicts a gilded gramophone. The Grammys are the first of the Big Three networks' major music awards held annually, and are considered one of the four major annual American entertainment awards with the Academy Awards (for films), the Emmy Awards (for television), and the Tony Awards (for theater). The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on May 4, 1959, to honor the musical accomplishments of performers for the year 1958. After the 2011 ceremony, the Recording Academy overhauled many Grammy Award categories for 2012. The 66th Annual Grammy Awards, featuring a total of 94 categories, was presented February 4, 2024.


Most recent Grammy Award winners
← 2021–22 Best in 2022–23
Eras Tour - Inglewood, California - Red act 8
Miley Cyrus Primavera19 -226 (48986293772) (cropped)
Award Album of the Year Record of the Year
Winner Taylor Swift
Miley Cyrus
Billie Eilish performing in March 2022
Victoria Monet (33269922475) (cropped)
Award Song of the Year Best New Artist
Winner Billie Eilish
("What Was I Made For?")
Victoria Monét

Previous Album of the Year

Harry's House

Album of the Year


The Grammys had their origin in the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the 1950s. As recording executives on the Walk of Fame committee compiled a list of significant recording industry people who might qualify for a Walk of Fame star, they realized that many leading people in their business would not earn a star on Hollywood Boulevard. They determined to rectify this by creating awards given by their industry similar to the Oscars and the Emmys. After deciding to go forward with such awards, a question remained what to call them. One working title was the 'Eddie', to honor Thomas Edison, the inventor of the phonograph. Eventually, the name was chosen after a mail-in contest whereby approximately 300 contestants submitted the name 'Grammy', with the earliest postmark from contest winner Jay Danna of New Orleans, Louisiana, as an abbreviated reference to Emile Berliner's invention, the gramophone. Grammys were first awarded for achievements in 1958.

The first award ceremony was held simultaneously in two locations on May 4, 1959, the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, and the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City, New York, with 28 Grammys awarded. The number of awards given grew, at one time reaching over 100, and fluctuated over the years with categories added and removed. The second Grammy Awards, also held in 1959, was the first ceremony to be televised, but the ceremony was not aired live until the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971.

Latin Grammy Awards

The concept of a separate Grammy Awards for Latin music recorded in Spanish or Portuguese began in 1989, as it was deemed too large to fit on the regular Grammys ceremony. The Recording Academy then established the Latin Recording Academy in 1997, and the separate Latin Grammy Awards were first held in 2000. The Latin Grammys honor works recorded in Spanish or Portuguese from anywhere around the world that has been released either in Ibero-America, the Iberian Peninsula, or the United States.

COVID-19 Impact (2021–2022)

The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards were postponed from its original January 31, 2021, date to March 14, 2021, due to the music industry impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The 64th Annual Grammy Awards were also postponed from its original January 31, 2022, date to April 3, 2022, due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 Delta cron hybrid variant. The ceremony was also moved from the Arena in Los Angeles to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas due to the former having scheduling conflicts with sports games and concerts nearly every night through mid-April.

Gramophone trophy

The gold-plated trophies, each depicting a gilded gramophone, are made and assembled by hand by Billings Artworks in Ridgway, Colorado. In 1990, the original Grammy design was reworked, changing the traditional soft lead for a stronger alloy less prone to damage, making the trophy bigger and grander. Billings developed Grammium, a zinc alloy which they trademarked. Trophies engraved with each recipient's name are not available until after the award announcements, so "stunt" trophies are re-used each year for the ceremony broadcast.

By February 2009, some 7,578 Grammy trophies had been awarded.


Edition Date Venue Venue City Host Network Viewers
(in millions)
1st May 4, 1959 Various (including Beverly Hilton Hotel) Beverly Hills & New York City Mort Sahl NBC N/A
2nd November 29, 1959 Meredith Willson
3rd April 13, 1961 None
4th May 29, 1962 Chicago, Los Angeles & New York City
5th May 15, 1963 Frank Sinatra
6th May 12, 1964 None
7th April 13, 1965 Beverly Hilton Hotel Beverly Hills
8th March 15, 1966 Various Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York City Jerry Lewis
9th March 2, 1967 None
10th February 29, 1968
11th March 12, 1969
12th March 11, 1970
13th March 16, 1971 Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles Andy Williams ABC
14th March 15, 1972 Madison Square Garden New York City
15th March 3, 1973 Tennessee Theatre Nashville CBS
16th March 2, 1974 Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles
17th March 1, 1975 Uris Theater New York City
18th February 28, 1976 Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles
19th February 19, 1977 28.86
20th February 23, 1978 Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles John Denver N/A
21st February 15, 1979 31.31
22nd February 27, 1980 Kenny Rogers 32.39
23rd February 25, 1981 Radio City Music Hall New York City Paul Simon 28.57
24th February 24, 1982 Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles John Denver 24.02
25th February 23, 1983 30.86
26th February 28, 1984 51.67
27th February 26, 1985 37.12
28th February 25, 1986 Kenny Rogers 30.39
29th February 24, 1987 Billy Crystal 27.91
30th March 2, 1988 Radio City Music Hall New York City 32.76
31st February 22, 1989 Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles 23.57
32nd February 21, 1990 Garry Shandling 28.83
33rd February 20, 1991 Radio City Music Hall New York City 28.89
34th February 25, 1992 Whoopi Goldberg 23.10
35th February 24, 1993 Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles Garry Shandling 29.87
36th March 1, 1994 Radio City Music Hall New York City 23.69
37th March 1, 1995 Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles Paul Reiser 17.27
38th February 28, 1996 Ellen DeGeneres 21.50
39th February 26, 1997 Madison Square Garden New York City 19.21
40th February 25, 1998 Radio City Music Hall Kelsey Grammer 25.04
41st February 24, 1999 Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles Rosie O'Donnell 24.88
42nd February 23, 2000 Staples Center 27.79
43rd February 21, 2001 Jon Stewart 26.65
44th February 27, 2002 18.96
45th February 23, 2003 Madison Square Garden New York City None 24.82
46th February 8, 2004 Staples Center Los Angeles 26.29
47th February 13, 2005 Queen Latifah 18.80
48th February 8, 2006 None 17.00
49th February 11, 2007 20.05
50th February 10, 2008 17.18
51st February 8, 2009 19.04
52nd January 31, 2010 25.80
53rd February 13, 2011 26.55
54th February 12, 2012 LL Cool J 39.91
55th February 10, 2013 28.37
56th January 26, 2014 28.51
57th February 8, 2015 25.30
58th February 15, 2016 24.95
59th February 12, 2017 James Corden 26.05
60th January 28, 2018 Madison Square Garden New York City 19.80
61st February 10, 2019 Staples Center Los Angeles Alicia Keys 19.88
62nd January 26, 2020 18.70
63rd March 14, 2021 Los Angeles Convention Center Trevor Noah 9.23
64th April 3, 2022 MGM Grand Garden Arena Las Vegas 9.59
65th February 5, 2023 Arena Los Angeles 12.55
66th February 4, 2024 N/A


The "General Field" are four awards which are not restricted by music genre.

  • The Album of the Year award is presented to the performer, featured artists, songwriter(s), and/or production team of a full album if other than the performer.
  • The Record of the Year award is presented to the performer and/or production team of a single song if other than the performer.
  • The Song of the Year award is presented to the songwriter(s) of a single song.
  • The Best New Artist award is presented to a promising breakthrough performer (or performers) who in the eligibility year releases the first recording that establishes their public identity (which is not necessarily their first proper release).

Among three artists who have won all four awards, two won all four at once: Christopher Cross in 1981 and Billie Eilish in 2020, making her at age 18 the youngest artist to do so. Adele won the Best New Artist award in 2009 and her other three awards in 2012 and 2017.

As of 2024, an additional two awards were added to the "General Field".

  • The Producer of the Year, Non-Classical award is presented to a producer for a body of work released during the eligibility period. It was first presented in 1974 and was not previously part of any specific field.
  • The Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical award is presented to an individual who works primarily as a songwriter for a body of work released during the eligibility period. It was first presented in 2023 and was not previously part of any specific field.

Other awards are given for performance and production in specific genres and for other contributions such as artwork and video. Special awards are also given for longer-lasting contributions to the music industry.

Because of the large number of award categories (78 in 2012, 81 in 2013, and 82 in 2014), and a desire to feature several performances by various artists, only awards with the most popular interest – typically about 10 to 12, including the four general field categories and one or two categories in the most popular music genres (i.e., pop, rock, country, and rap) – are presented directly at the televised award ceremony. Most other Grammy trophies are presented in a pre-telecast "Premiere Ceremony" in the afternoon before the Grammy Awards telecast.

2012 category restructuring

On April 6, 2011, the Recording Academy announced a significant overhaul of many Grammy Award categories for 2012. The number of categories was cut from 109 to 78. The most substantial change was eliminating the distinction between male and female soloists and between collaborations and duo/groups in various genre fields (pop, rock, rhythm and blues [R&B], country, and rap). Additionally, several instrumental soloist categories were discontinued; recordings in these categories now fall under general categories for best solo performances.

In the rock field, the hard rock and metal album categories were combined. The Best Rock Instrumental Performance category also was eliminated due to a waning number of entries.

In R&B, the distinction between best contemporary R&B album and other R&B albums has been eliminated, consolidated into one Best R&B Album category.

In rap, the categories for best rap soloist and best rap duo or group have been merged into the new Best Rap Performance category.

The roots category had the most eliminations. Up through 2011, there were separate categories for regional American music forms, such as Hawaiian, Native American, and Zydeco/Cajun music. A consistently low number of entries in these categories led the Recording Academy to combine these music variations into a new Best Regional Roots Music Album, including polka, which had lost its category in 2009.

In same-genre fields, the traditional and contemporary blues categories and the traditional and contemporary folk categories each were consolidated into one per genre due to the number of entries and the challenges in distinguishing between contemporary and traditional blues and folk songs. In the world music field, the traditional and contemporary categories also were merged.

In the classical field, its main category Best Classical Album, was discontinued because most recipients in the category had also won in other classical categories for the same album. Classical recordings are now eligible for the main Album of the Year category.

A few minor name changes were also made to better reflect the nature of the separate categories. The Recording Academy determined that the word "gospel" in the gospel genre field tends to connote images and sounds of traditional soul gospel to the exclusion of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). Therefore, the field and some categories were renamed as Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music.

Since 2012

Since 2012, small adjustments have been made to lists of categories and genre fields. The number of categories has risen from 78 in 2012 to 84 since 2017. In 2020, amid the George Floyd protests, several urban, rap, and Latin music categories were renamed. In 2022, the number of awards was increased from 86 to 91. Performance categories were added for the Americana and alternative music genres alongside new categories for video game score and spoken word poetry albums. A songwriter category (non-classical) and a song for social change category were also added and several categories were adjusted slightly.

In 2023, several key changed were announced for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, set to take place in 2024. Three new categories were announced, bringing the total number to 94, the highest since the peak of 109 in 2010. In addition, both Producer of the Year, Non-Classical and Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical, were moved to the General Field, the first time new categories had been added to this field since the concept of the Big Four was established. The total number of fields was consolidated from 26 to 11 to ensure that all voting members would be able to exercise their allocated ten genre votes, as some members were prevented from doing so previously due to some fields only containing one category.

Entry process and selection of nominees

Members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), both media companies and individuals, may nominate recordings for consideration. Entries are made and submitted online. When a work is entered, review sessions are held that involve over 150 recording industry experts, to determine that the work has been entered in the correct category.

The resulting lists of eligible entries are then circulated to voting members, each who may vote to nominate in the general fields (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist) and in up to nine out of 30 other fields on their ballots. The five recordings that earn the most votes in each category become the nominees, while in some categories (craft and specialized categories) review committees determine the final five nominees. There may be over five nominees if a tie occurs in the nomination process.

Although members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences generally are invited to screenings or are sent DVDs of films nominated for Oscars, NARAS members do not receive nominated recordings, but instead receive access to a private online listening service.

Final voting

After nominees have been determined, final voting ballots are sent to NARAS voting members, who may then vote in the general field and cast ten votes in various genre categories spread across up to three of the eleven fields. Members are encouraged, but not required, to vote only in their fields of expertise. Ballots are tabulated secretly by the independent accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. After vote tabulation, winners are announced at the Grammy Awards. The recording with the most votes in a category wins, and it is possible to have a tie (in which case the two [or more] nominees who tie are considered winners). Winners are presented with a Grammy Award; those who do not win receive a medal for their nomination.

In both voting rounds, academy members are required to vote solely based upon quality, without consideration for sales, chart performance, personal friendships, regional preferences or company loyalty. Gifts may not be accepted. Members are urged to vote in a manner that preserves the integrity of the academy and their member community. Although registered media companies may submit entries, they have no vote in the process.

The eligibility period for the upcoming 66th Annual Grammy Awards is October 1, 2022 – September 15, 2023. The 2024 Grammy Awards, unveiled by Recording Academy chief Harvey Mason Jr., are set to be held on February 4, 2024.


In many categories, certificates are presented to those ineligible for a Grammy Award but who did contribute to a winning recording. These certificates are known as Participation Certificates or Winners Certificates. Those eligible for a certificate can apply for one in the weeks after the Grammy ceremony.

Special honors

Grammy Legend

A special Grammy Award of merit is occasionally awarded to recognize "ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field". It has come to be known as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Living Legend Award at different ceremonies. As of 2018 fourteen solo musicians and one band have received this award.

Salute to Industry Icons Award

The Grammy Salute to Industry Icons Award honors those who have made innovative contributions to the music industry. Recipients include:

Venue Arena 2022
The Arena in Los Angeles has served as the venue for the Grammy Awards since 2000

Before 1971, Grammy Award ceremonies were held in different locations on the same day. Originally New York City and Los Angeles were the host cities. Chicago joined as a host city in 1962 and Nashville became a fourth location in 1965.

The 1971 ceremony at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles was the first to take place in one location. In 1972, the ceremony was then moved to Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum in New York City, then moved in 1973 to Nashville's Tennessee Theatre. From 1974 to 2003, the Grammys were held in various venues in New York City and Los Angeles, including New York's Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall; and Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium, Staples Center and Hollywood Palladium.

In 2000, the Arena (known as the Staples Center from 1999 to 2021) became the permanent home of the award ceremonies. The Grammy Museum was built across the street from the Arena in LA Live to preserve the history of the Grammy Awards. Embedded on the sidewalks on the museum streets are bronze disks, similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to honor each year's top winners, Record of the Year, Best New Artist, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. Since 2000, the Grammy Awards have taken place outside of Los Angeles only three times. New York City's Madison Square Garden hosted the awards in 2003 and in 2018, while the MGM Grand Garden Arena hosted in 2022.

The annual awards ceremony at the Arena requires that sports teams like the Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Sparks play an extended length of road games.

Leading winners

With 32 Grammy Awards, Beyoncé is the artist with the most Grammy wins. U2, with 22 Grammy Awards, holds the record for most awards won by a group.

TV broadcasts and ratings

Before the first live Grammys telecast in 1971 on ABC, a series of filmed annual specials in the 1960s called The Best on Record was broadcast on NBC. The first Grammy Award telecast took place on the night of November 29, 1959, as an episode of the NBC anthology series NBC Sunday Showcase, which normally was devoted to plays, original TV dramas, and variety shows. Until 1971, awards ceremonies were held in both New York and Los Angeles, with winners accepting at one of the two venues. Television producer Pierre Cossette bought the rights to broadcast the ceremony from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and organized the first live telecast. CBS bought the rights in 1973 after moving the ceremony to Nashville, Tennessee; the American Music Awards were created for ABC by the late Dick Clark as a result.

The Recording Academy announced on June 21, 2011, that it had reached a new deal with CBS to keep the awards show on the network for another 10 years. As part of the new contract, the network would also air a "nominations concert" special in the last week of November, where nominations would be released during a special exclusive to CBS, rather than at a traditional early-morning press conference to a multi-network press pool. This was ended after the 2016 concert due to low ratings and criticism about the announcement format, and as of the 2017 nominations, they have been revealed in a roundtable conversation with Recording Academy representatives during CBS Mornings, though since 2020, it has returned to a traditional noontime Eastern press release statement and highlight of in-show award nominees on social media. In 2016, the Grammys became the first awards show to regularly air live annually in all U.S. territories, and for decades, alongside the Academy Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards and Tony Awards, the shows have aired live in over 150 countries worldwide.

From 2004 to 2019, the Grammys were held on the second Sunday of February (the week after the Super Bowl), with two exceptions: if that day was February 14 (Valentine's Day), it was moved to the following day; if it was a Winter Olympics year, it was held earlier on the last Sunday of January (the week before the Super Bowl). Starting in 2020, the Academy Awards ceremony would move back to the second Sunday of February, forcing the Grammys to move back to the last Sunday of January to avoid conflict with either the Oscars or the Super Bowl. To allow enough time for preparation, the cutoff date for eligible recordings would move from September 30 to August 31. This change reduced the eligibility period for the 2020 awards to eleven months (October 1, 2018 – August 31, 2019), a month shorter than usual.

Viewership by year

Year Viewers (Millions) Rating/Share (Households) Average Ad Price (30s) Source(s)
1974 N/A 30.3/52 N/A
1975 N/A 16.4/30 N/A
1976 N/A 23.8/47 N/A
1977 28.86 21.3/38 N/A
1978 N/A 26.6/44 N/A
1979 31.31 21.9/34 N/A
1980 32.39 23.9/39 N/A
1981 28.57 21.2/34 N/A
1982 24.02 18.2/29 N/A
1983 30.86 25.6/33 N/A
1984 51.67 30.8/45 N/A
1985 37.12 23.8/35 N/A
1986 30.39 20.3/32 $205,500
1987 27.91 18.3/27 $264,200
1988 32.76 21.1/33 $299,900
1989 23.57 16.0/26 $318,300
1990 28.83 18.9/31 $330,600
1991 28.89 18.8/31 $319,200
1992 23.10 16.2/27 $352,900
1993 29.87 19.9/31 $401,500
1994 23.69 16.1/24 $407,700
1995 17.27 11.8/19 $399,100
1996 21.50 14.6/23 $304,800
1997 19.21 13.4/22 $346,300
1998 25.04 17.0/27 $315,600
1999 24.88 16.6/26 $472,000
2000 27.79 17.3/27 $505,500
2001 26.65 16.7/26 $574,000
2002 18.96 11.9/19 $573,900
2003 24.82 14.7/23 $610,300
2004 26.29 15.7/24 $654,600
2005 18.80 11.6/18 $703,900
2006 17.00 10.9/17 $675,900
2007 20.05 12.1/19 $557,300
2008 17.18 10.3/16 $572,700
2009 19.04 10.3/16 $592,000
2010 25.80 TBD $426,000
2011 26.55 10.0/25 $630,000
2012 39.91 14.1/32 $768,000
2013 28.37 10.1/25 $850,000–$900,000+
2014 28.51 9.9/25 $800,000–$850,000
2015 25.30 8.5/23 $1,000,000
2016 24.95 7.7/22 $1,200,000
2017 26.05 7.8/22
2018 19.80 5.9/21
2019 19.88 5.6/22
2020 18.70 5.4/22
2021 9.23 2.1/22
2022 9.59
2023 12.55

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Premios Grammy para niños

  • List of Grammy Award winners and nominees by country
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