Maroon 5 frontman and The Voice judge Adam Levine will not be tuning in to the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards this Sunday night. He laid out his distaste for the show earlier today on Twitter.
“The VMA’s. One day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music,” he wrote. “I’m drawing a line in the sand. F— you VMA’s.”
An hour later, Levine wrote, “Still waiting to have my ‘Jerry Macguire mission statement moment of deep regret…’ Not happening. Phew!” Clearly, he’s sticking by his opinion (and perhaps wanting somebody to show him the money).
But Levine brings up a reasonable point that comes up around this time every year. Should MTV even bother doing this annual award show? On the one hand, it’s typically an extremely high-rated event, and it has become one of the few pieces of television that links the network of today with its roots.
However, the distance between what MTV was and what MTV has become is driven home powerfully every time the VMAs come around.
The network made a big deal out of extracting the word “music” from its logo last year, and it seemed like it was an even longer time coming. Ever since the fall of TRL a few years back, there hasn’t been a video-based show the network has deeply committed to (there was the aborted FNMTV experiment, though that was an idea that showed up a few years too early and was abandoned just as it was finding a voice). The music that shows up on the network shows up in the middle of Jersey Shore and Teen Mom, and while those types of appearances may actually give artists more exposure than a video spin would, the problem of videos being crowded out still exists.
There are still elements of MTV committed to music: MTV Hive is starting to find its sea legs, Palladia is a great conduit for live performances, and the return of 120 Minutes is a welcome if slightly uninspired attempt to resurrect a beloved video-based franchise. But the main network remains mostly music free (and please don’t bring up AMTV). The network even sometimes seem embarrassed by their own pedigree: When they were celebrating their 30th birthday earlier this summer, they came up with the great idea of airing the network’s first broadcast hour (commercials included). But you couldn’t find it on MTV — you had to tune in to VH1 Classic. And they still do long-form sit-downs and news specials about top artists, though you have to watch most of them on the Internet.
So Levine is both right and wrong. MTV as a network certainly doesn’t care very much about music, though MTV as a brand still has commitments to what the “M” used to stand for. He’ll be skipping the show, but he can always read about it on this website.