(Eddie Rangel | The Poly Post)

Virtual VMA’s format restores emphasis on music

By David Herbold | @herbold_david

For as long as the MTV Video Music Awards have existed, they have also been an event focused on showing off.  Like every other awards show, industry insiders parade around their designer clothes in order to cement themselves as the most stylish influencers.  

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year presented the world with its first ever virtual VMAs. The award show’s unique format resulted in a heightened focus given to the music itself rather than all the other superficial aspects surrounding it — a welcome development that deserves continued consideration even after the pandemic is behind us.  

(Eddie Rangel | The Poly Post)

The red carpet’s spontaneous comments and the live audience’s cheers gave way to a series of performances without fans, as well as acceptance speeches delivered both from empty stages and from artists’ homes.

Without a captive audience, the event could have been just a boring bunch of rich people patting each other’s backs.  

Instead, the show’s setup made for an interesting event, with most of the artists joining the event virtually aptly mirroring 2020’s shift to virtual music production. 

Despite the pandemic’s detrimental impact on the concert scene — music production itself has taken COVID-19 in stride, with no signs of slowing down. This year’s show even featured a category exclusively for music videos made from home.  

While the show was less spontaneous, the new take on the VMAs opened up opportunities to feature edited segments along with the live broadcast, allowing for a wider variety of artists to participate. 

Additionally, it was exciting to see the personal side of the artists who won awards, with many of them accepting their awards from their own homes.

There was a feeling of relatability that changed up the usual showiness of the awards.  For once, instead of focusing on the excess of it all, we got the chance to focus on the fact that all of these artists are just people too. In the end, we got the chance to focus more on the music.

Going forward, it is important to understand that the modern music industry has evolved to become mostly virtual anyway, with music and music videos streaming being obvious examples. It would not be the worst thing in the world for our music awards to reflect this. 

We should continue to showcase the human side of the musicians who rock our world, in an awards format that combines the best parts of both the virtual and live event.  

We should celebrate the sound, not the sequins.

Verified by MonsterInsights