What’s up with the Grammys this year?

By: Sara Lesczynski  |  December 19, 2023

By Sara Lesczynski

On November 10, 2023, the eagerly awaited Grammy nominations came out. Fans and artists alike rushed to see the full list of nominations. Many fan favorites were recognized, but for some fans, more of their favorite artists were prevalent throughout the nominations than others. 

Artists like SZA, Lana Del Ray, Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, and Boygenius all received multiple nominations overlapping in categories such as “Record of the Year,” “Album of the Year,” and “Song of the Year.”. Other artists like Noah Kahan and Gracie Abrams are also competing against each other in “Best New Artist.”. Kudos to all of the artists for being nominated. 

The issue, however, is that many of the artists share the same fan base. Many users’ top five Spotify Wrapped had Taylor Swift, Olivia, Billie, Boygenius, etc. in their top five artists and/or songs. They all play to the same indie teen audience, some playing more folk style music, others more pop niches. 

Many of the artists even collaborated on projects this year. Taylor Swift had Phoebe Bridgers (member of the band boygenius) open for her on the Eras Tour. SZA had Phoebe featured on the song “Ghost in the Machine,” which is actually nominated for a Grammy. Billie Eilish invited boygenius out to sing with her at the Electric Ballroom in London. Olivia covered Noah’s song “Stick Season” in the Live Lounge on BBC Radio; a few weeks later Noah covered Olivia’s song “Lacy” at the same venue. Noah also recently released an updated version of his song “Everywhere Everything” now featuring Gracie Abrams. It is clear that many of the artists competing against each other are incredibly intertwined, and their fans will have a hard time figuring out who to root for. 

This isn’t the first Grammy Awards for a number of the artists previously mentioned.  That being said, it is a particularly intense round of nominations and one of the artists has made quite the global impact this year. Taylor Swift, who has 12 Grammys, won Artist of the Decade in 2019, is currently on a record-breaking tour that has been said to have saved the U.S. economy from recession, and was named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year,” is competing in six different categories against artists who share the same fan base. There is absolutely no question that Taylor Swift is a musical powerhouse, and if she is deserving of the praise and awards isn’t the debate. The question is, is it fair to other artists that they have to compete against her? Taylor is playing in a game of her own; she has created a level unmatched. Sara Hamaoui, a 19 year old student who attends Marianopolis Cegep in Montreal and is huge Taylor Swift fan said, “I love Taylor Swift, but if you were to ask me who my favorite artist is I would say boygenius because it’s just not a fair competition between them. Taylor is beyond the best of the best, and it doesn’t allow for the recognition of other artists.” Of course, there is  no feasible solution to this problem being that you cannot create an award show where only Taylor Swift is nominated. That being said, is it reasonable to see Taylor winning in every category she is nominated in?

One of the most competitive categories this year is “Record of the Year.” In this category the nominees are: 

Billie Eilish – “What Was I Made For?” (rom the motion picture Barbie) – 493,805,683 streams
Boygenius – “Not Strong Enough” – 65,051,705 streams
Jon Batiste – “Worship” – 1,481,034 streams
Miley Cyrus – “Flowers” – 1,625,376,955 streams
Olivia Rodrigo – “Vampire” – 597,504,976 streams
SZA – “Kill Bill” – 1,504,580,404 streams
Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero” – 1,275,768,629 streams
Victoria Monét – “On My Mama” – 47,363,108 streams

(Streaming data was taken from Spotify)

It would be reasonable to narrow down the competition by simply looking at who has the most streams. Such songs would include “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus, “Kill Bill’ by SZA, and “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift, all of which have over a billion streams on Spotify alone. However, the Grammys state that they vote based on “artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.” Therefore, attempting to guess who will win any specific category will really be a shot in the dark because of the lack of quantifiable aspects one can take into account. 

At the end of the day, seeing who wins the Grammys and how fans will inevitably react to the results will simply have to be a waiting game.