How The Internet Predicts Grammy Award Winners

Social media thinks it knows who made the best music

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Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Ryan Lewis (L) and Macklemore pose in the press room at The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live! on Dec. 6, 2013, in Los Angeles

Trying to guess who’ll take home the big prizes at this weekend’s Grammy Awards? So’s the Internet.

Search engines like Google and Yahoo!, along with music services like Shazam and Spotify, have combed through their data to figure out which nominated artists and songs have garnered the most user interest, in hopes of predicting which will win.

(MORE: Grammy Awards 2014: Who Got Nominated, Who Got Snubbed)

Album of the Year:

Nominees: Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest; Daft Punk, Random Access Memories; Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City; Taylor Swift, Red; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist

PredictionMacklemore & Ryan Lewis are the favorites here, based on Google Play Music listens for the album’s singles, the album receiving 48% of all Shazams in the category and Spotify streams. (The Heist has over 40% more than Daft Punk’s album.) However, Yahoo! has also tracked searches for nominated artists, finding that Taylor Swift has at least six times more search traffic than her fellow nominees.

Record of the Year:

Nominees: Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers, “Get Lucky”; Lorde, “Royals”; Bruno Mars, “Locked Out Of Heaven”; Robin Thicke ft. T.I. & Pharrell, “Blurred Lines”; Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”

Prediction: In this category, “Blurred Lines” is the favorite, with the most YouTube views and 31% of Shazam searches. The other contender is Spotify’s vote, “Radioactive,” which far surpassed Robin Thicke in their streaming count.

In other categories, there’s less agreement from these prognosticators. For examples, for Best New Artist, Kendrick Lamar has the most Google searches but Macklemore & Ryan Lewis beat him by 70% in Spotify streams.

Of course, none of this will actually matter if fan interest doesn’t coincide with the feelings of the members of the Recording Academy, the people who actually get to vote. Still, social media predictions have in the past been about as accurate as experts who guessed based on critical knowledge and intuition — last year, as the New York Times observed, Shazam and Spotify were about even with Billboard.

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