The recurring word you hear after [almost] every single music awards show is “boring”. Take last weekend’s MTV VMAs as an example, with the worst viewership ever, raising a lot of bad comments even from artists like Adam Levine. I agree with such judgment over these shows, but that has made me wonder two things: what is the actual problem and do organizers notice the issue?
It's always exciting to see how utterly horrible the VMAs will be. They really delivered so far this year. #HOLYFUCK
— Adam Levine (@adamlevine) August 28, 2017
Let’s begin with the first question. Music is more accessible than ever nowadays, you have YouTube for free, you even have Spotify for free. And this has made it possible for people to access music genres and therefore artists that they wouldn’t even know they existed. I, for instance, have opened my horizons to music from the present and the past that 10 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of. And this particular fact matters because as our musical horizons expand, there are more artists that many of us want to see win and perform or at least appear on camera.
So what happens when you were expecting your favorite band to perform in front of all those people but they didn’t? You get frustrated and probably start seeing the bad side of the show in every detail, and even if you don’t, it will never be as appealing as it could have been.
This is not the only and neither the most powerful argument that I have encountered though. Because you see, these award shows have gone to be less about the actual music and more about the comedy from the hosts or the stars we see on screen. Aren’t we sick of the multiple wardrobe changes every host makes in a single night? Or the shameful, full of jokes commentaries? Aren’t we sick of the endless commercial breaks that interrupt the few performances and awards we actually get on screen? Aren’t we sick of categories being left out?
Those are the problems that I feel like are ruining the show. But these are indeed shows, and a show needs to sell to be able to get revenue and pay everything that needs to be paid. It is understandable to some extent that commercials are present because we haven’t found a better way to sponsor stuff; that they need the biggest celebrity names (even if they are not musicians) to appear multiple times on camera and even have more relevance in the ceremony; that hosts want to find the funny side for some and then for the others.
So what can be done? First of all, we as spectators need to put our expectations a bit aside and actually try to understand what goes on behind the scenes. But that doesn’t mean we have to agree with them and not demand a change. The biggest responsibility is to the organizers. They need to understand that music awards are for music and that therefore people go and watch it, at least most of them. And under that spectrum, they will understand that they have an artistic gold mine with all the musicians that attend and that are extremely talented. Imagine having multiple bands all at once in the same place? Why don’t you promote bigger spectacles and mostly on stage collaborations that we would never ever see in a normal tour or even music festival?
Either way here’s for better shows and more music!