Talk about swagger.
It’s been a long-standing tradition for the nominated artists of awards shows like the Grammys to be treated to gifting suites with luxury goods and services. But the gift bag for the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday night is so rich, that it’s literally a suitcase stuffed with more than $60,000 worth of swag.
Lash Fary, who has curated the Grammy gift lounge for more than 20 years, gave NBC a sneak peek at what the artists can take home this year, whether they win or lose. And the loot includes:
- The still-unreleased $80 MINTiD Dog-E robot dog
- A $300 fine bubble showerhead from ReFa that creates microbubbles, which is supposed to create spa-quality mist and remove scalp buildup and skin impurities
- A $27 heart-shaped rose gold brush, also from ReFa
- Turbo-flex sunglasses from Aspex Eyewear that are supposed to be virtually indestructible
- GrosséJapan luxury costume jewelry, a brand worn by artists like Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Cyndi Lauper and Little Nas X
- A $400 robotic pool cleaner from Aiper
- A $68 Expressio custom chocolate video box from M Cacao, aka a high-tech box of chocolates that you can personalize by uploading a video on the top of the box
- A $118 pair of Havaianas flip-flops bedazzled with Swarovski crystals
- A bottle of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from Frontera Wines, which is the official wine of this year’s Grammys
- A $10,000 voucher for “Celebrity Arms” Arm Liposuction with Dr. Thomas Su at ArtLipo Plastic Surgery
- A $1,000-plus Bugaboo Fox 3 stroller (which obviously doesn’t fit into the suitcase, but will be available at the lounge.) And Bugaboo will donate a stroller to a family in need through Baby2Baby for every celebrity that grabs a stroller in the lounge.
“If you go home because you lost to Beyoncé or Lizzo or whoever ends up winning, you still get some fabulous swag,” Fary told NBC.
And some 150 people are expected to roll out of the Grammys at the Crypto Arena with these swag bags.
But they should keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a free lunch — or gift bag.
The artists will still have to pay taxes on all of these goodies. And that’s because the IRS notes on its gift bag FAQ page that the goods and services given in conjunction with appearances by the stars at award shows are not “gifts” in the true sense of the word. “The organizations and merchants who participate in giving the gift bags do not do so solely out of affection, respect, or similar impulses for the recipients of the gift bags,” the IRS notes. Rather, the gifting suites are huge marketing opportunities for brands that hope celebrities will pick up and promote their products.
So the value of the gifts gets counted as income, the IRS says. “In general, the person has received taxable income equal to the fair market value of the bag and its contents and must report that amount on his or her federal income tax return,” reads the IRS page.
And for some successful Hollywood actors and other high earners in California, this can mean a tax rate over 50%, as CNBC reported when looking at the 2022 Oscar gifting suite worth nearly $140,000.
But Fary says celebs are often not concerned by the tax bill. “For these folks, taxation is a pretty irrelevant issue,” Fary said.