Drupal Wins GRAMMY.com

Lullabot is proud to announce that GRAMMY.com, the official site of the GRAMMY Awards, is now a Drupal site. The GRAMMY Awards is the music business' largest and most prestigious awards ceremony. This year's telecast, happening January 31st, will be the 52nd annual awards ceremony held by the The Recording Academy.

GRAMMY.com has run on several platforms over the years, but The Recording Academy decided to move to Drupal for its flexibility, speedy build-out, scalability, and performance under pressure. The website sees a huge traffic spike around the telecast and the Academy needed a content management system which could be both resource efficient throughout the year and provide high-performance and high-availability around the dates of the awards ceremony.

Lullabot, whose portfolio includes Lifetime Television, FastCompany.com, and the Sony Music artist platform (running over 100 Sony artist websites), brought in developers from Santex to help get the site built in about eight weeks. The site features extensive photo and video galleries, a live video feed, blogs and news, and of course listings of all the nominees. The site also features integration with Twitter and the GRAMMYs' active Facebook community. The project was assembled using mostly existing free add-on modules from Drupal's vast contributions repository.

In the past, a website like this would have cost millions of dollars to build. But Drupal allowed The Recording Academy to assemble the site quickly at a fraction of the cost.

Site Modules and Architecture:

This PressFlow-based Drupal 6 site makes heavy use of CCK and Views. Other modules of note are Views Slideshow on the home page; Fivestar for ratings throughout the site; ImageCache, ImageField, and ImageField Extended for image handling and galleries, Poll module (part of Drupal core) on the home page, and Views Cloud for sidebar tag clouds throughout. The site also uses the Custom Page module to provide the custom home page layout.

New modules to come out of the project include Gallery Summary and iFrame Filter which improves page load performance for remote javascript-based content. Many module patches and improvements were also contributed including work on Flag, NodeQueue, ShareThis, and the Ooyala video module, which handles all of the video on the site.

Design and Theming:

The site design theme is based on the We're All Fans GRAMMY marketing campaign by TBWA Chiat Day. The site also makes extensive use of the Cufón javascript-based font rendering engine to implement standards-compliant custom header fonts. The site also uses a custom base theme and sub-themes to allow for easy design changes from year to year.


Knowing that the site would need very flexible hosting to handle the traffic spike around the telecast, Lullabot did a lot of research to find a company who could pay close attention to the site and scale up and down quickly to handle the load while minimizing costs.

The final solution has 2 MySQL servers in a database cluster and 8 load balanced Apache servers, each running Memcache and acting as a MySQL slave server. The entire setup is hosted with NeoSpire. "We chose NeoSpire Managed Hosting for their interest in helping us come up with a custom solution and their willingness to monitor the site closely throughout the GRAMMY Awards event," says Lullabot co-founder, Matt Westgate. "We're also using Akamai and Varnish reverse proxy caching to offload most of the anonymous traffic – a trick we picked up from Alec Hendry at MTV UK."

This year's GRAMMY Awards airs on the CBS television network January 31st at 8pm. Look carefully for members of the Lullabot team in the audience.

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