As you probably know, the 60th Annual Grammy Awards took place at Madison Square Garden in New York. This is notable because it was the first time in 15 years, after spending every year since 2003 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Before sticking in Los Angeles though, the Grammys used to alternate between Los Angeles and New York pretty regularly as the two hubs for the American music industry (long-time, country music power player Nashville notwithstanding). However, once the Grammys stopped taking place in New York, much of the cottage industry that has popped up around the event started to institutionalize in L.A. It’s what made the move back east finally happening such a big deal.
“The reality is that it’s a major undertaking in many respects,” The Recording Academy’s CEO Neil Portnow told Billboard. “One is that we’re West Coast-based so it means moving essentially a majority or good portion [of the staff] back east. No. 2 is the weather. No. 3 is reinventing not just the Grammy telecast, but the whole week we’ve developed. . . . It’s way more expensive to do anything in New York.”
Convincing the Grammys to move back to New York can be considered nothing less than a coup for city leadership. The economic impact of the event is estimated at around $200 million. If you’re wondering how all that money comes from a three hour event, consider that every year there’s a whole week of Grammy parties and Grammy-related events, all of which are held somewhere in the city.
While naturally many of these events are filling some of the swankiest venues and event spaces in the city, like 1oak, Spring Studios, and others, there are also events, both affiliated and non-affiliated that take place at all stops on the fancy-to-divey spectrum. One of the biggest watch parties for the Grammys, for example, took place at Brooklyn Bowl, the eclectic Williamsburg bowling/music venue that’s popular with the younger crowd.
Future Grammys locations have not been announced, and there was some friction ahead of the Grammys between the city and The Recording Academy over unexpected costs of the event itself. However, hopefully in future years the Grammys will continue to at least switch off biannually with Los Angeles and reestablish itself as another marquee New York event.
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