Miley Cyrus' 2013 VMA Performance Will Mean Insane Album Sales, If History Is Any Indication
If history repeats itself, Sunday night will have a profound impact on her career. Miley Cyrus's 2013 VMA performance that saw her twerking, licking, and grinding with Robin Thicke during their medley of "We Can't Stop", "Blurred Lines," and "Give It 2 U" got everyone talking and even two days later, no one is ready to shut up about what went down on that stage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. When the world's currently most famous 20-year-old pop idol shakes her ass in a man's crotch, motorboats a woman's butt-cheeks, and makes dirty, dirty love to a foam hand, all while wearing a flesh-tone bikini, it's a lot for everyone to handle. But it could all add up to cold, hard, glorious cash.
Even though the Internet, in general, lost its shit after she took the stage — her performance alone inspired over 300,000 tweets, countless blog posts, and just as many internal and external gasps — we'll reward her by buying her music.
It remains to be seen how Bangerz will continue to be affected by Cyrus's sexual teddy bear parade on Sunday night, but we can safely assume that the publicity will only help album sales. As of now, pre-sale for Bangerz is No. 5 on the iTunes — it'll be available on Oct. 8 — and "We Can't Stop" is still No. 4 in song downloads, a feat, considering its release over 18 weeks ago. Cyrus will likely laugh all the way to the bank because it's happened before, and it will happen again: nudity, profanity, and all-around controversial VMA performances have a tendency to lead to an increase in dolla dolla bills.
When Madonna writhed around and floor-humped the VMA stage in a wedding dress back in 1984, Like a Virgin sold 21 million copies worldwide. — it was her third-best selling album of all time. Eight years later, when Nirvana pulled a fast one over VMA producers and sang "Rape Me" right before "Lithium", In Utero entered the Billboard 200 at No.1 and went on to sell over 12 million copies worldwide.
Eight years after that, in 2002, Britney Spears tore off a tuxedo to reveal a nude body suit covered in strategically placed glitter for her VMA performance of "Satisfaction" and "Oops, I Did It Again." The album that had both those tunes, Oops ... I Did It Again, sold over 24 million copies worldwide. It was her second highest selling album.
The only time an over-the-top, overly-sexual performance didn't really add up to album sales was Madonna's 2003 performance of her song "Hollywood". Not ringing a bell? That's the one where she kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. We all talked about that kiss for a long, long time, but American Life didn't do so well for Madonna — it only sold about 5 million copies worldwide — and is ranked among her worst selling albums.
Cyrus's "We Can't Stop" performance had the shock-factor of Madonna's 1984 VMA set, the screw-the-producerness of Nirvana's '92 set, the raw sexuality of Britney's 2000 performance, and none of the transparent gimmicks of Madonna, Britney, and Christina's compilation in 2003.
By all accounts, Bangerz is set to take over the world one inappropriate foam-hand gesture at a time.