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July 27th, 2005

MTV Video Music Awards: So?

Yesterday, MTV announced the nominees for their Video Music Awards. They’re about what you might expect. I guess my question is, does it matter?

I want to preface this by saying that I know I really, really run the risk of sounding like Jaded Old Man again. But that’s fine.

The thing is, MTV is in a really strange spot. Music is a part of their programming, but it’s no longer the thrust. They show, perhaps, an hour of videos a day. When videos are on at other times, they’re just snippets. So it’s kind of hard to determine what these awards are for. Are they for airplay on the network? No, not really. What about radio popularity? Eh, somewhat – it’s undeniable that some of the nominees (Gwen “I Sing Like Crap” Stefani) wouldn’t be anywhere without crazy, repetitive, mindless radio play.

More to the point, I think the VMAs, as they’re abbreviated, are more about keeping the MTV brand out in the public eye. Listen… it’s not about music anymore. A number of years ago, MTV watched their VMAs en masse and collectively thought, “There’s a lot of spectacle going on here!” You had Howard Stern as Buttman… stuff like that. That was when it was (allegedly) unexpected and unplanned.

Now, the “unplanned spectacle” is basically scheduled into the VMAs. Britney & Madonna kissing? Come on, like that wasn’t planned. MTV needs to keep the VMAs out there to keep up the now-largely drained reputation that they’re innovative and on the edge. Even the article I linked above claims they’re “irreverent”. Uh, sure.

So, ultimately I don’t think the VMAs really matter anymore. They give the audience some music to listen to, and some circus-like spectacles. But that’s about it. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking this is a big music event; it’s really a big pop culture event, and pretty much sums up where MTV is nowadays.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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