MTV’s European Music Awards: Good Music TV or Great Marketing Platform?

Mtv-ema-2011The February launch in the UK and Ireland of MTV Music, an MTV channel devoted to music, is a fitting coda to the now mundane recognition that MTV is an entertainment network and music is simply one aspect of their operations. Given the lineup and impact of this weekend's MTV European Music Awards (MTV EMA), it doesn't even sound cynical to claim that MTV, a channel that helped turn "promo videos" into a monetizable art form, has now fully transformed itself into a marketing platform.

But I'm not here to bash MTV since I haven't considered it a viable entertainment source since the 80s though I did make use of some of their web properties back when I was a hip hop blogger. In fact, I don't think anyone really considers MTV a music television network anymore and this weekend's MTV EMA events certainly drove that point home.

Yes, they were awards for music but, given the lineup featured American stars who make the news everyday, it's not hard to accept RTE (Ireland's National Television and Radio Broadcaster) DJ Dave Fanning's criticism that the awards show is "all for marketing" and is an "exercise in sales."

Is it any surprise that the award winners were people like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Eminem? Irish rockers Snow Patrol got some attention for their upcoming album and tours, BIGBANG (surprise!) exploited the growing Kpop market and Queen represented the nostalgia factor (back catalog sales).

There is nothing about such programming that suggests any need for actual knowledge of music. Check the charts and headlines and you've got a show!

Though I'm not trying to pull a Pete Townshend, I'm with DJ Dave.  These awards are all about marketing and they don't mean much to me. However, they do seem to mean a lot to Belfast and that's a marketing effort I can certainly support:

"Gerry Lennon from Belfast Visitor Convention Bureau said it would be impossible to buy the type of publicity Belfast is getting from staging the awards. 'The message that goes out is that Belfast is a happening city, that Belfast is a music city and that changes the perception of Belfast.'"

"Meanwhile, MTV has announced it will return to Belfast next year for the Titanic centenary event."

Did someone say Titanic? Mo' marketing, mo' money and maybe some music!

MORE: MTV EMA 2011 - A Complete List of 2011 European Music Award Winners

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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