Photo by Franklin Heijnen CC BY-SA 2.0

Predicting the Grammys

The Grammys are coming, and it’s time for everyone to brush off their prediction hats. Most people simply rely on gut instinct, but this year, we’ve gone for a more formal way of measuring who’s likely to win, and our results might surprise you.

We monitor the social web in real time to rank various topics that are cropping up. For reference, the that includes Twitter, various blogs, online news, reviews forums and video websites (e.g., YouTube). Once we’ve excluded the inevitable cat videos, mentions of John Cena and Rick Astley, we rank the various target topics. In this case: Grammy winners.

Beyoncé Lemonade album cover

Based on social media buzz in the past 30 days, Beyoncé’s “Formation” (47.8 percent) is in the lead for record of the year, and “Lemonade” is on route to be the album of the year (51.1 percent). For best new artist, Chance the Rapper is likely to win (64.9 percent). The latest daily stats are available at the WikiTags website.

At the moment, however, pundits reckon that while Chance the Rapper and Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” are on track, Adele will get the record of the year for “Hello.” This is despite “Hello” only reaching third in social media mentions (14.8 percent), with “Work” by Rihanna coming second (35.2 percent).

So Beyoncé may well have conquered the social media market, and our ranking is likely helped by her extraordinarily successful enigmatic social media presence. Beyoncé’s posting strategy is scattershot and inconsistent, and her Instagram account is notorious for having virtually no captioning. Yet everything that she does post is immediately shared between 94.2 million Instagram followers with insane levels of speculation (remember how much people read into the lyrics of the tracks on “Lemonade”?). Of course, her baby announcement rapidly became the most-liked image in Instagram history, and that has a skewing effect on the results.

Adele 25 album cover

Adele, on the other hand, only has 23.6 million followers on Instagram and slightly more on Twitter, at 27.7 million. Does this mean she has less social media reach? Probably. In addition, because Hello was released in 2015 (does it really feel like that long ago?), perhaps some have forgotten about it. It’s difficult for the pundits to ignore a song that went seven times platinum, however, and perhaps that’s why it’s up for best record.

Talking of followers, Rihanna has 48.9 million Instagram followers and a whopping 69.6 million Twitter followers. This could be why she’s spiking our rankings somewhat, although we agree that she deserves to be considered for “Work.”

Chance the Rapper via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

As for the newcomers, it’s clear that Chance the Rapper has three times the social presence of his next nearest rival, the Chainsmokers, although they have nearly eight times the followers of their next-nearest rival, Anderson Paak. Here it’s clear that social media has had an effect on our rankings, but they agree emphatically with the consensus that Chance the Rapper is due his big moment.

Overall, social media can reflect key trends on what people are thinking, and many people in the media believe that any publicity is good publicity. Naturally, the Grammys are affected by popular appeal, and social media reflects the popularity of both new and established artists.