Mumford & Sons win big as Grammys go younger
Gotye and Kimbra also honoured as awards ceremony ushers in new generation of artists who are less reliant on traditional music sales
The Grammy Awards gave their top honour to British roots music band Mumford & Sons for their album Babel on a night that distributed honours to an array of younger acts including New York indie rock trio Fun., Australian electronic pop artist Gotye, rapper-R&B singer Frank Ocean and rock group the Black Keys.
"We figured we weren't going to win because the Black Keys have been sweeping up all day - and deservedly so," Mumford & Sons front man Marcus Mumford said after he and his band members strode to the stage at Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday to collect the award from last year's winner, R&B-soul singer Adele.
Pop culture historians may look back at 2013, however, as more than the year that the Grammy Awards ushered a new generation of performers into the upper echelon of music industry accolades.
It may also be seen as the year the music business establishment gave up its long, unsuccessful fight against new forms of music dissemination by embracing songs and videos that consumers soaked up not by purchasing them but by way of YouTube and other internet outlets.
Somebody That I Used to Know, the wildly popular collaboration between Gotye and New Zealand pop singer Kimbra, took the top award presented for a single recording upon being named record of the year, which recognises performance and record production.
Somebody was not only one of the biggest-selling singles of last year, but also has notched nearly 400 million views on YouTube, powerfully demonstrating the increasingly vital role of the "broadcast yourself" video internet phenomenon.
"I'm really at a loss for what to say after receiving an award from the man standing behind us with a cane," said Gotye, born Wally de Backer, referring to pop star Prince, who announced the category winner.
Kimbra said: "I feel blessed to be part of this award, and I couldn't share it with anyone more amazing than this artist here."
Fun. was named best new artist, an acknowledgment of the good-time music the group brought to the airwaves last summer largely through its runaway hit single We Are Young, which also has racked up nearly 200 million YouTube views, and was crowned song of the year.
"All right, I didn't think we were gonna win this one - Frank Ocean, The Lumineers, everyone is so awesome," Fun. member Nate Ruess said, name-checking some other nominees in the category.
The Fun. song's title could also serve as a theme for the evening, which was dominated by other relatively young acts in the most prestigious Grammy categories.
Singer, rapper and songwriter Ocean emerged the victor in the one category that pitted him directly against real-life rival Chris Brown, as his critically acclaimed solo debut album, Channel Orange, won the urban contemporary album award.
A few minutes later he got a second Grammy with Kanye West, Jay-Z and the Dream in the rap-sung collaboration category for their single No Church in the Wild.
It was the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach who quickly built up steam as the front runner to dominate this year's awards, taking five statuettes barely an hour into the show, including producer of the year for himself and three with his group, including rock performance, rock song and rock album for El Camino.
Original American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson took the pop vocal album award for her disc Stronger.
Carrie Underwood grabbed the country solo performance Grammy for the title track from her album Blown Away, which also won the country song award.