Music’s Biggest Night put on one hell of a concert, but unfortunately not a lot of people watched it go down. According to Nielsen figures, the 2021 Grammy Awards ratings experienced a huge drop in viewership this year, with only 7.89 million viewers tuning in to watch the show. That’s less than half (!) of the number of people who watched the Grammys in 2020.

Out of that nearly eight million estimate, the 2021 Grammy Awards only drew a 1.9 rating among adults aged 18 to 49 years old — their key demographic and the audience that they court the hardest each year. By comparison, the 2020 awards averaged about 16.54 million viewers and a 4.8 in that same age group. And to think, that was before adjusting the ratings to their official (but still paltry) 18.69 million viewers and 5.4 rating among the 18-49 demo, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

While most every awards show is experiencing a diminished audience in one way or another due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the folks at the Recording Academy said they expected as much, this drop in ratings for the Grammys is particularly bad. For context, the 2020 awards had the smallest tally since 2008 (17.18 million) and the fourth lowest ratings since Nielsen records were first introduced in 1988. Plus, the 2020 awards had the record low for that key demo of adults aged 18-49.


It’s worth noting that this year’s ratings for the Grammys have not yet been adjusted for the live telecast on the west coast or the data from home viewing. However, those adjustments aren’t likely to bring the final numbers anywhere near the Grammys’ average rating from the past few years.

Before now, the all-time smallest audience for the Grammys was 16.99 million in 2006 when producers decided to broadcast the event on a Wednesday night. It’s hard to imagine the leftover data that has yet to be factored into the 2021 Grammy Awards overall viewership ratings will bring it above that low bar. If that’s the case, then it looks like not even an intimate Taylor Swift performance, Beyoncé breaking an all-time record, nor a BTS skyscraper routine could salvage the event.