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The 51st Grammy Awards: another YouTube moment

February 9, 2009 |  3:25 pm
51st Grammy Awards, TV, online video, YouTube, CBS
The CBS Grammy site, touting a Radiohead clip -- that you can find on YouTube.

Big TV moments resonate through the Internet, so it's no surprise that excerpts from last night's Grammys are popping up around the Web. The live performances are all there: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss with T-Bone Burnett, Radiohead with the USC Marching Band, the Jonas Brothers embarrassing themselves with Stevie Wonder -- it's all there. Even a snippet of Gwyneth Paltrow gushing over, well, not her husband's combo.

What was surprising was the absence of footage from an official source. Once again, the TV industry ceded to YouTube the role of Online VCR, preserving its big moments for those who missed them (or wanted to relive them). The recording academy may be playing catch-up on the Interwebs -- look, blogs! -- but CBS is no slouch when it comes to online video. Yet CBS' Grammy site is loaded with behind-the-scenes and red-carpet clips, and completely devoid of footage from the event itself. That's like offering a DVD filled with extra features but no movie. As with any big event, the opportunity online started the minute the Grammy broadcast began, not hours or days after it ended.

Really, is that the best CBS and the recording academy could do?

-- Jon Healey

Healey writes editorials for The Times' Opinion Manufacturing Division.