VMA Ratings Hit An All Time Low

VMAs Hit All-Time Ratings Low for 3rd Straight Year

The biggest winner Monday night? SEBASTIAN MANISCALCO! No one saw his tone-deaf monologue panned in every publication known to man. And the truth is, his audience agrees with him, millennials/Gen-Z are wankers.

But the millennials/Gen-Z don’t care.

Welcome to 2019, where there is no mass audience, no consensus on what’s cool, hip or great, where we’re all deep in our own silos and the only people who don’t get it are the media and the purveyors.

That’s right. If hip-hop were as big as the media says it is, it would dominate the Pollstar chart. But the truth is that’s ruled by old rockers, not even pop acts. There has never been such a disconnect between what is selling tickets and what dominates radio and recordings.

Yup, a teen might stream a track ad infinitum on Spotify, but his or her parents, his or her older siblings, his or her himself, are going to see the legends before they croak, paying high prices and purchasing merch.

And there are developing acts on the Pollstar chart too. And festivals like LOCKN’ where Trey plays with Derek, wailing on “Little Wing,” and the attendees are satiated and couldn’t care less what’s #1, even if they know what it is.

Tedeschi Trucks Band ft. Trey Anastasio – “Little Wing”

So they give a party featuring the latest and greatest Spotify wonders, mixing in some ancient hip-hop to boot, and it turns out no one cares, at least not in numbers. Oh, MTV is touting great social numbers, but they are not revealing them, which means they can’t be THAT good.

Don’t the kids want to see Taylor Swift?

NO! Her FANS want to see Taylor Swift! So far, no track off of “Lover” has been a hit, and despite reviewers lining up to praise the album, most people just don’t care. Taylor came up in a different era, when singular dominance was possible, but now it is not.

And we live in a participatory culture. People want to make videos to Lil Nas X’s music, but they’ve got no desire to see him live. And Shawn Mendes is not the star he’s made out to be, ditto Lizzo. Oh, they’re successful, but they’re just niche!

Yes, we can blame MTV for steering away from music.

Yes, we can say that millennials are on demand viewers, and appointment TV is anathema.

Yes, we can say there is awards show fatigue.

The truth is everything we based our industry on has faded away, so the old purveyors are doubling-down, trying to save themselves, when the truth is they’re just headed for the dumper.

Like theatre owners. Netflix is eating their lunch. The owners refuse to show Scorsese’s “The Irishman” because the streaming giant won’t give them a three month window.

But Netflix not only has “The Irishman,” but the new Soderbergh and Baumbach movies. In other words, Netflix has the adults of cinema, the creators and the viewers, leaving the theatre owners with superheroes and the very occasional comedy. Yup, that’s all that sells. Hell, adult/indie/foreign box office was abysmal over the summer. So the real auteurs have moved on to television, where the audience is. Meanwhile, theatre owners are like the labels during the Napster era. What is end game? You’ve got to focus on end game.

The music business has flipped. The real stars, the career artists, are made on the road. The major labels are just interested in the evanescent, overpaying for a hit du jour with traction online. Hell, they don’t even know how to develop a non-rock artist.

As for Interscope and Billie Eilish…kudos, there are always exceptions, but the truth is she’s a youth phenomenon, hell, at least even Alanis Morissette was 21 and wrote her own material with “Jagged Little Pill.”

And some of the road acts don’t even put out albums, or do so occasionally. They realize their bond is with their audience, not the middlemen, i.e. radio and streaming services.

But anybody with a gig, anybody with money, is afraid of the future, they don’t want to see their world decline. Therefore, they say Elizabeth Warren is unelectable. WHY? Because they don’t want to lose something!

And Shari Redstone reunites CBS and Viacom and Wall Street swoons! But CBS cannot succeed as a standalone streamer and Viacom is a collection of junk.

But this is the same Street that’s anti-Tesla not realizing that they’re betting against the future, that the world has already decided to go electric, and it was Musk that was pushing the envelope, and it is Tesla that has the supercharging stations and better battery technology. Hell, if they sell it/merge, there’s a pretty penny involved, but no, the Street is too focused on today’s numbers, short-termism, and the media trumpets its viewpoint.

Awards shows are dead. There are just too many and the awards are meaningless. As for tuning in to tweet…that’s passe.

We’ve learned that nothing is dominant these days, that it’s nearly impossible to get any story out, that the only people paying attention are those who were already paying attention.

Furthermore, if you grow, it will start online, not on TV or in mainstream media.

This leaves tons of questions.

Old people don’t like questions.

But the future is dark and murky, but it does come, and the spoils go to those who figure it out.

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