MTV’s Video Music Awards have celebrated the greatest individual performances for decades, but this year they will recognize the top digital concert with a new award for “Best Metaverse Performance.”
There are six artists to consider: Ariana Grande, Charli XCX, Justin Bieber, Twenty One Pilots, and K-pop groups Blackpink and BTS. The nominees have all performed on multiple so-called metaverse platforms, including Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft. Voting for this category ends Friday, and the winner will be announced at this year’s VMAs in Newark, NJ, on August 28th.
The award show, which debuted in 1984, recognizes the biggest names in music and is known for categories such as Artist of the Year and Video of the Year. But recently the VMA audience has shrunk significantly. The show drew a record 12.4 million viewers in 2011, according to Billboard, but had fewer than a million viewers last year.
Dabbling in the metaverse may reflect an attempt by MTV to boost ratings and reinvigorate its fan base. In addition to adding the Metaverse performance category, MTV created its own VMAs Metaverse experience featuring three music- and dance-themed games on Roblox and, of course, a virtual red carpet for Metaverse photo ops.
“The MTV Video Music Awards has a long history of social and digital innovation, as we always want to meet our fans where they are,” Amy Campbell, chief marketing officer for Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios, said in a statement.
Metaverse concerts have become increasingly common over the past few years. As DJ Marshmello drew 11 million people to a first Metaverse concert in 2019, the multiplayer survival game fortnite, Several artists and companies have jumped on the trend. Rapper Travis Scott reportedly brought in $20 million from one Fortnite In 2020 he organized concerts. Scott earned $53.5 million from his 26-city Astroworld tour in 2019, according to Forbes.
Still, some attempts at a metaverse concert haven’t been as successful. While Travis Scott’s virtual concert drew 27 million people and Marshmallow brought in 11 million, Meta’s attempt at a Metaverse concert fell flat late last year. The company, which has invested $10 billion in efforts to create a widely used metaverse by 2021, drew just 100,000 people to a free digital concert by rapper Young Thug and nearly a million to a performance by electronic DJ duo the Chainsmokers. According to Futurism, its Horizon Venues VR platform.
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