This year’s MTV Video Music Awards have a new category: the Metaverse

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By Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez

The Video Music Awards MTV’s Video Music Awards have been highlighting the best live performances for decades, but this year they will also honor the top digital concert with a new award for “Best Metaverse Performance“.

Six artists are nominated –

  • Ariana Grande
  • Charli XCX
  • Justin Bieber
  • Twenty One Pilots and
  • K-pop bands BLACKPINK and
  • BTS

All of the nominees have appeared on various so-called metaverse platforms, including Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft. Voting for the category ends Friday and the winner will be announced at this year’s VMAs in Newark, New Jersey on Aug. 28.

The awards show, which debuted in 1984, brings in the biggest names in music and is known for categories like artist of the year and video of the year. But in recent years, the VMA audience has shrunk significantly. The show attracted a record 12.4 million viewers in 2011, according to Billboard, but last year its audience dropped to less than a million.

The preoccupation with the metaverse may reflect an attempt by MTV to boost its ratings and reinvigorate its fan base. In addition to adding the metaverse performance category, MTV created its own Video Music Awards metaverse experience at Roblox with three music and dance-themed games and, of course, a virtual red carpet for metaverse photos.

“The MTV Video Music Awards has a long history of social and digital innovation, as we always strive to meet our fans where they are,” said Amy Campbell, chief marketing officer of Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios, in a statement.

Metaverse concerts have become increasingly commonplace in the past couple of years. Ever since DJ Marshmello attracted 11 million people in 2019 at one of the first metaverse concerts in the multiplayer survival game Fortnite, several artists and companies have turned to the trend. Rapper Travis Scott reportedly made $20 million from a Fortnite concert he hosted in 2020. Scott earned $53.5 million from his 26-city Astroworld tour in 2019, according to Forbes.

However, some metaverse concert efforts have not been as successful. Although Travis Scott’s iconic concert drew 27 million people and Marshmello’s 11 million, Meta’s metaverse concert effort fell flat late last year.

The company, which in 2021 invested $10 billion in its efforts to create a widely used metaverse, attracted only about 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, hosted on virtual reality platform Horizon Venues, according to Futurism.

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