Viacom’s Audience Science Team Shows Off Why Being a VMA Best New Artist Definitely Has Its Perks
The MTV and Taco Bell Best New Artist Award is one of the most sought after honors for emerging talent in the industry — a tradition MTV Video Music Awards has continued for 33 years. But is there a correlation between winning and going on to become a major name in the industry? Viacom’s Audience Science team decided to test this theory by building an interactive data visualization that explores the history of VMA Best New Artist winners. The result? The team was able to determine that on average, artists who have won this title at the VMAs were on the Billboard Hot 100 chart 18 times longer than before their win.
Credit it to the discerning ear of voters at home or MTV’s ability to accurately predict the next big thing and drive additional buzz—either way, almost everyone from Lady Gaga to Fetty Wap has gone on to own the charts and make a significant cultural impact on everything from what we watch to what we wear.
Biggest Mover: Maroon 5
Zero weeks on the charts before their VMA Best New Artist win in 2004 for “This Love,” Maroon 5 was on the Billboard charts for an astounding 328 weeks after. Since then, the band has gone on to win three Grammys, three American Music Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, and even made a special return trip to the MTV VMAs in 2014 to perform for the first time ever.
Rap God: Eminem
At the 1999 VMA’s, Britney Spears made an inaugural appearance, Jennifer Lopez and Diddy were the “It” couple of the moment, and Eminem took home Best New Artist for “My Name Is,” earning him a spot on the charts for an astounding 393 weeks after. Twelve VMAs and one Academy Award later, he’s made music history: He’s the first artist in Nielsen SoundScan history with two year-end bestselling albums and ranks as one of an elite group of artists who’ve held the No. 1 spot on the charts the longest.
The Young Gun: Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber was not only the youngest Best New Artist winner at 16 for “Baby,” he’s also the only artist ever on Billboard to own the top three bestselling singles in America at the same time. Earning his first No. 1 in 2015 for “What Do You Mean,” it was his 2015 VMA performance of this same exact song that suddenly became “the meme heard ’round the world” when the singer broke down in tears afterward. (He later explained it was because of the overwhelming positive response of the crowd following a very tough year.)
The Game Changer: Lady Gaga
In six short years, Lady Gaga has managed to reach the top-tier of MTV Video Music Awards royalty. Along with Beyoncé and Madonna, she’s among the most-winning MTV VMA female artists of all time scoring Best New Artist in 2009 for “Poker Face.”
Thankfully, Gaga has since proven it doesn’t matter if you dress like a man or wear a meat dress to the main event—just as long as you accessorize your outfit with an MTV moonperson.
More VMA Best New Artist Insights
Viacom’s Audience Science team was also able to develop interactive data visualizations that explored the gender breakdown of artists, the most popular musical genre, and the median age of previous MTV VMA Best New Artist winners.
Interested in learning more? Head over to Viacom’s Science Central for more details.