How the Recording Academy uses IBM watsonx to enhance the fan experience at the GRAMMYs®

Through the GRAMMYs®, the Recording Academy® seeks to recognize excellence in the recording arts and sciences and ensure that music remains an indelible part of our culture. When the world’s top recording stars cross the red carpet at the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards, IBM will be there once again.

This year, the business challenge facing the GRAMMYs paralleled those of other iconic cultural sports and entertainment events: in today’s highly fragmented media landscape, creating cultural impact means driving captivating content across multiple digital channels. Not an easy task when you need to celebrate the achievements and stories of more than 1,000 nominees across nearly 100 categories.

That’s why the Recording Academy partnered with IBM to build a content supply chain that would save hundreds of hours of research, writing and production time while offering creative flexibility and easy review. Powered by the generative capabilities of IBM watsonx, the system provides engaging insights about the personal lives and accomplishments of popular GRAMMY-nominated artists.

A generative AI content engine fueled by trusted data

This year’s solution uses watsonx to leverage a powerful large language model (LLM) hosted in the component. The model was trained on the Recording Academy’s trusted, proprietary data, which includes artist biographies and stories from the GRAMMYs website and archives, along with their brand guidelines.

Through an AI Content Builder dashboard, the Recording Academy can use natural language prompts to generate a wide variety of content that can then be published to the website or used in social media posts.

Intelligently automating social asset creation

The Recording Academy needed to scale their social media coverage to connect with fans and promote the event in the leadup to the GRAMMYs and on the night of the awards ceremony. But until now, content production had been highly manual and laborious. The solution: AI Stories with IBM watsonx. Through the AI Content Builder dashboard, the editorial team can easily and quickly create rich assets to be shared in formats such as Tik Tok videos, Instagram stories or Facebook reels.

The AI Stories interface lets editorial team members choose templates that feature nominees or categories with a variety of layouts and branding, using approved images from the Recording Academy’s asset library. Next they select an artist or award category to feature, the subject of the post, such as biographical information, GRAMMY achievements, or philanthropic causes, and any topics to exclude from the output.

Then the real magic happens when a user clicks the “generate” button. AI stories are created featuring introductory text, headlines, bullets, one-liners, and wrap-up texts such as questions and calls to action. Any of these outputs can be regenerated to create alternate phrasings and can easily be manually edited. Upon clicking “publish,” the text is rendered onto a video asset and prepared for download and subsequent publishing.

Enhancing the digital experience, live

The spectacle of the GRAMMY Awards show extends beyond the network broadcast. Fans from around the world will also be tuning in to a variety of livestreams on, including the Premiere Ceremony (where the majority of category winners are recognized), GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet, behind-the-scenes backstage moments, stars arriving on the “limo cam” and more.

This year, an “AI Stories with IBM watsonx” widget will appear beneath the livestream, featuring informative text-based content related to the artists and categories being awarded. The editorial team creates these insights through the AI Content Builder dashboard, using a similar interface as for social asset creation. The default view of the widget features short headlines and factoids, but fans can click through to read more.

“In previous years we provided one or two insights per artist, but this year the widget lets fans dive much deeper and read more about their favorites,” says Tyler Sidell, Technical Program Director of IBM Sports and Entertainment Partnerships.

The IBM advantage: Expert guidance and implementation

Responsibly making the most of a game-changing technology such as generative AI requires more than just plugging in some code. It requires end-to-end expertise from planning to deployment. That’s why for seven years now, the Recording Academy has collaborated with IBM Consulting to jumpstart technology initiatives using the IBM Garage Methodology. This human-centric, outcome-first approach is used to create, execute and operate workflows alongside the client. The process accelerates digital transformation, facilitates innovation and cultivates practices, technologies and expertise to rapidly turn ideas into business value.

Throughout the planning process for the GRAMMYs, IBM Consulting collaborated with multiple stakeholders across the Recording Academy and frequently met with information technology, marketing and digital teams. And on the big night, IBM will be on-site during the event as an extension of the editorial and production teams.

The powerful combination of IBM Consulting, IBM Garage, IBM watsonx and the Recording Academy digital team delivers an engrossing digital experience to more than 5 million music fans worldwide.

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