Published December 06. 2012 1:00PM Updated December 06. 2012 1:29PM
LOS ANGELES — Mumford & Sons, rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West, and The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach each received six Grammy nominations as the music industry prepares to hand out its top honors.
Auerbach, 33, is a finalist for producer of the year, and with bandmate Patrick Carney, nominated for album and record of the year. The indie band Fun and R&B singer Frank Ocean also received six nominations during a one-hour broadcast on CBS Wednesday from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
The event was hosted by rapper LL Cool J and country singer Taylor Swift, and featured performances by Maroon 5, Ne-Yo and The Who. With album sales down 4 percent this year, the event provided record companies an opportunity to showcase their talent during the holiday period that accounts for a quarter of music purchases, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. The winners will be announced Feb. 10 at the 55th annual Grammy Awards on CBS.
"People watching at home aren't necessarily aware of all the new music out there," David Bakula, an analyst at Nielsen SoundScan in Los Angeles, said in a phone interview. "If history repeats, once they hear it, they'll go out and buy."
The Band Perry and Dierks Bentley paid tribute to Johnny Cash during the show, which also featured performances by Janelle Monáe and Fun, Luke Bryan and Hunter Hayes.
The artists also paused to remember Dave Brubeck, who died Wednesday at 91 of heart failure.
"Tonight we remember one of the greatest that jazz music ever had, a Grammy lifetime achievement award winner," said LL Cool J.
Two of the biggest selling albums this year, Adele Adkins's "21" and Swift's "Red," were released outside the eligibility period, Bakula said. Adele, who won six Grammy awards in February, released her album Jan. 19, 2011. It has sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S., while Swift's album, released Oct. 22, has sold 2.22 million copies, according to SoundScan data.
Fun, which records for Warner Music Group, and Ocean, distributed by Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, are in the running for album and record of the year, and best new artist. Record of the year recognizes a track's artists, engineers and producers, while song of the year credits songwriters.
Others in the running for best new artist include Alabama Shakes, Hunter Hayes and The Lumineers.
Mumford & Sons' nominations include best rock performance and album of the year for "Babel," which has sold 1.2 million copies, while nominations for Jay-Z and Kanye West include best rap-sung collaboration for "No Church in the Wild." Adkins is nominated for best pop solo performance for "Set Fire to the Rain" from "Live at The Royal Albert Hall."
"El Camino," the Black Keys album released in December by Warner Music, received strong reviews from critics, including Bloomberg's Mark Beech who called it "outstanding" and said the band is "the inheritor" of the White Stripes' crown. The album has sold 1.04 million copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan data.
Auerbach will contend with Jeff Bhasker, Diplo, Markus Dravs and Salaam Remi for producer of the year.
Jack White, one-half of White Stripes, received three nominations including album of the year for "Blunderbuss," which is also a contender for best rock album.
The industry is down to three major record companies. Universal received regulatory approval in September to acquire EMI's recorded music business. An investor group led by Sony Corp., owner of Sony Music Entertainment, acquired EMI's publishing business in March. In 2011, billionaire Len Blavatnik acquired Warner Music Group.
Artists who released albums between Oct. 1, 2011, and Sept. 30, 2012 are eligible for the 55th annual Grammys. Ballots are due Jan. 16, when they will be tabulated ahead of the awards show, according to the Recording Academy.