The annual Grammy Awards telecast Sunday on CBS attracted 19.8 million viewers, a drop of 24 percent from last year and the lowest tally since 2008.
Even with the decline, the awards were the most-watched entertainment show during prime time in almost a year, according to audience data released by the network today. The numbers don’t include online viewers. Live TV events, while losing viewers to new entertainment options, remain among the most popular programs because audiences are less likely to record them and watch later.
Sunday night’s show was marked by politically charged statements from hip-hop’s most influential artists. The Recording Academy has been slow to recognize hip-hop, a genre that has defined youth culture since the 1980s, influencing fashion, sports and entertainment.
Bruno Mars won album of the year for “24K Magic” and song and record of the year for two separate singles from the collection of throwback rhythm-and-blues jams. He fended off challenges from rappers Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z, who had the most nominations and were vying to be the first rap act to win the song or record awards.
Read more: Bruno Mars gets top Grammys as feel-good pop triumphs
The awards ceremony returned to New York, the birthplace of hip-hop, for the first time in 15 years in honor of the event’s 60th anniversary.