MTV’s Amy Doyle on Post-VMA Music Sales Spike

Daina Amorosano by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

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Beyond the big numbers the MTV Video Music Awards delivered on television, web and mobile, the night also gave music sales a significant boost. In the week after the awards show, VMA-related music sales were up more than a third over the prior week, from 1.49 to 2.03 million songs and albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Performers and nominees from Justin Timberlake, ‘N SYNC and Robin Thicke (his “Give It 2 U” was up 251% in digital sales) to Kanye West (“Blood on the Leaves” grew 230%), Bruno Mars, and Katy Perry (up 14%) — among others — enjoyed instant and immediate sales, chart and social spikes. “The 21 songs performed during the show — including the 11 tunes sung in the lengthy Justin Timberlake/’N Sync medley — sold 1.8 million downloads for the week: a collective rise of 36%,” according to this Billboard article on the sales spike.

In light of the huge post-VMA boost in music sales, we chatted with Amy Doyle, EVP of MTV Music and Talent Programming Strategy/ MTV Video Music Awards Executive Producer, to hear about her work on the show and MTV’s commitment to musicians. Here’s what she had to say about  the spike, and about the reverberating success of this year’s show.

How do you feel about the success of the show & the fact that sales are up?

Amy Doyle: We feel great about it!!  Our goal is to make the VMAs the year’s loudest pop culture and music event…and it feels like we hit the mark with this show. We’re thrilled that each of the performances really connected with the audience and that both the winners and performers are seeing solid chart, sales and social spikes. More than a week later, fans are still actively watching the performances on MTV.com.  That’s a testament to all the creativity and hard work that went into pulling everything together. Over the past few years, managers and labels have made a concerted effort to align their artist project launches with the VMAs, which is an acknowledgement of the global impact the show has and its reputation for immediate sales and social impact.

Does Music & Talent work on the VMAs with music sales in mind? If so, what do you do specifically to fuel growth – or is it just a windfall profit of putting on an awesome show?

AD: It’s one of many ways we measure the success of the show.  It’s top of mind in those instances when it is a cornerstone to an artist’s strategy to jumpstart a brand new song the way Bruno Mars did with “Gorilla” and Robin Thicke did with “Give it 2 U.”  A couple years ago Li’l Wayne dropped his album immediately following his VMA performance which was a very successful launch and ultimately a great story for the VMAs.  Every artist that takes the stage wants to own the night and puts everything they have into delivering a stellar performance, hoping it translates into single, album and ticket sales.  We love seeing the impact the show has on all of those things.

Is this sort of music sales spike typical after the VMAs?

AD: In the last few years, we’ve really started  to see artists experiencing a strong impact immediately following their VMA performances and wins. Sometimes we’ll see an unknown artist like Florence + The Machine back in 2011 be catapulted from relative obscurity to stardom seemingly overnight. Other times we’ll see more established artists perform a new song and have it immediately jump to the top of the charts like Adele did when she performed “Someone Like You.”

What does Music & Talent do all year long to promote the prosperity of MTV’s artist-partners?

AD: My team works year round to connect artists and fans. This includes programming music content across MTV, MTV2, MTV Hits and MTV Jams, presenting tours for a myriad of up-and-coming artists, live streaming shows on MTV.com,  actively adding artists and content to Artists.MTV and collaborating with artists for stunts across our social platforms and other annual events like Movie Awards, Woodies, Spring Break and OMAs.  This year, we launched a new music discovery franchise, Artists to Watch, that spotlights an emerging artist across all of MTV screens (television, web, mobile and social) every two weeks, it has also become a quarterly live event at the Highline Ballroom.  We’re proud to report that every artist that we’ve featured has reported solid growth. It really speaks to MTV’s unmatched ability to help break new talent.

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