Vevo's Grammys channel misses the mark

If you want to catch actual performances from Sunday's music awards show, YouTube's still your best bet, says Matt Rosoff.

I missed the live Grammy Awards telecast this year, but Monday at the office, one of my colleagues remarked about Pink's Cirque du Soleil-style performance, wondering if she'd been trained as a circus performer. Then, I saw several of my Facebook friends commenting that Taylor Swift should have learned how to sing before sharing the stage with Stevie Nicks. Much to my surprise, there were suddenly two Grammys videos I wanted to see.

"Can you feel this magic in the air?" sang Taylor Swift at Sunday's Grammy Awards show. My answer: yes, and it's a few cents flat. 52nd Grammy Awards/CBS Television, via YouTube

I turned first to YouTube, but the first video I found of the Pink performance was appallingly low quality, like somebody had shot a video of their TV screen with a handheld camera and posted the results. Then, I remembered: Vevo, the music video site that's a joint venture of several record companies and Google, launched a Grammy channel that morning. I figured that the site, with its music-business connections and emphasis on high-quality video, would have what I needed.

So I turned to the Vevo Grammy channel, and sure enough, the first video in the "Grammy Performers" category was a live performance by Pink, with some remarkable acrobatics. But at the very end, I looked at the shot of the arena and thought the venue seemed awfully large for the Grammys. So I went back to YouTube and looked again. It turns out that the Pink video on Vevo wasn't from the Grammys at all. Nor was any other video under "Grammy Performers." These were simply videos of artists who also happened to have performed at the Grammys. A golden opportunity missed, but I'm betting that Vevo didn't have the rights to the telecast, which was shown on CBS. (CNET News is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.) So instead, it took some videos for which it does have rights and placed them under this header.

The experience gave me a very unwelcome flashback to 2003 when video content was scattered all over the Web, and reminded me why YouTube became so popular in the first place. Fortunately, YouTube's still got the goods. They may not be high-definition, but the Grammy performances by Pink and Taylor Swift are both available. Are Pink's gymnastics more impressive than her music? Who's out of tune--Taylor, Stevie, or both of them? Judge for yourselves.

 

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