Nothing sells music like national TV exposure. An examination of iTunes and Amazon sales ranks during the Grammy broadcast shows the immediate impact the event had on the sales of titles nominated for Album of the Year.
Fun.'s performance at around 8:30 p.m. ET didn't immediately improve the band's position on iTunes and Amazon, but its iTunes album rank started to move up around 9:00 p.m. after the band won the "Song of the Year" award with "We Are Young." Some Night's album rank at Amazon MP3 barely budged all evening, remaining at #4 until getting to #3 at 12:45 a.m. (the Lumineers' self-titled album remained Amazon MP3's #1 digital album all evening thanks in part to a $3.99 sale price).
Mumford and Sons' Babel, winner of Album of the Year, had less room for improvement than its peers. Babel had already sold 1.7 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and was ranked #6 at iTunes, #2 at Amazon and #11 at Amazon MP3 (with the help of a $3.99 sale price). Babel saw its iTunes rank improve slightly after the band's performance ended right around 9:00 p.m.
Jack White was the greatest gainer of the Album of the Year nominees. Blunderbuss started the evening at #90 on iTunes, #41 on Amazon's CD bestsellers list and #123 on the Amazon MP3 album list. The album didn't move much on Amazon over the course of the broadcast but on iTuns it dropped from #80 at around 10:45 p.m. to #44 at around 11:00 p.m. after his performance and sat at #27 at 12:45 a.m.
Frank Ocean may have had the most to gain from the Grammys. His debut album Channel Orange was nominated for Album of the Year and he was nominated for Best New Artist. Channel Orange steadily improved from around #20 at the beginning of the broadcast to #12 by the 12:45 a.m.
The Black Keys' El Camino didn't budge at Amazon -- it was on sale for $2.99 at Amazon MP3 -- but was able to climb from #18 to #7 by the end of the evening on iTunes.
The Grammys have been good to digital sales in the past, too. Last year, digital sales of Adele's 21 increased 52,000 units the week of the Grammys (the period tracked by SoundScan ends on Sunday, the day of the Grammys) and another 88,000 units the following week. The Civil Wars' "Barton Hollow" rose 8,000 units during Grammy week and added another 14,000 digital units the following week. Mumford and Sons' "Sigh No More" increased 133% to 80,000 digital units the week after the Grammys in 2011. Although the band lost the Best New Artist award to Esperanza Spalding, the nation was able to see Mumford perform on stage with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers.