Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Read All About It! But Don't Watch–The Grammys Tune Out Online

I didn’t watch a second of last night’s Grammy Awards, but I’m pretty sure I caught all of it, anyway.

My Twitterstream was dominated by snarky play-by-play, and the rest of the Web was doing the same thing. Even the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal put Grammy liveblogs on their homepages.

So now it might be nice to head online and actually see–and hear–what I missed. No dice.

The official Grammy site, run by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, has plenty of clips, but none from the CBS broadcast itself–it’s all backstage, or red carpet or other footage I don’t care about. doesn’t have anything, and neither does, CBS’s mini-Hulu.

Meanwhile, Google’s YouTube, the place where I really expect to see clips, is doing a very good/frustrating job of keeping the site scrubbed free of amateur uploads. You can find some stuff, but it takes work, and the quality is poor, and I’m pretty sure it’s getting removed quickly after it goes up.

So while I really want to see Arcade Fire’s performance–my Twitter pals were ecstatic about it–right now the only thing I can find is grainy footage of  Lady Gaga doing yet another Madonna…homage. This may or may not be available by the time you read this:

[UPDATE: Ask, and you shall receive! For now. Thanks to @colinparksfried, @tdotjdot and @nolaschott]

A CBS rep notes that Grammy performances “aren’t typically available online due to rights clearance issues,” and I’m sure that’s true. Any given song can have lots of different owners, and getting all of them to agree to put it on the Web can be a huge hassle. On the other hand, it’s not an insurmountable challenge–that’s why we have, a Web site dedicated to nothing but music videos.

Left unsaid here is that big live events like the Grammys are now TV’s most valuable commodity, and the people who produce big live events continue to struggle with the Web. But more and more of them are getting it–even the very uptight NFL is putting highlight videos up on its site while the games are in progress.

The Grammys are already being augmented very nicely by the Web, which provided it with endless free promotion last night. But now that the live event isn’t anymore, you’d think the music industry, which can use all the promotion it could get, would be pushing very, very hard to let people see what they missed last night.

Who knows. It might even prompt someone to, you know, buy some music.

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