Tyler the Creator Criticizes the YouTube Awards, and, For Once, He's Right
Tyler the Creator is a rapper known for causing controversy, and this latest incident has him slamming the YouTube Music Awards, where he'll be performing on Nov. 3. Tyler the Creator says the YouTube Music Awards are redundant, but this time, he's making a point that's actually pretty easy to agree with.
Announced about a month after the groan-worthy MTV Video Music Awards, the YouTube Music Awards seemed like they had the potential to do something different in the already overpopulated music awards show arena. But once the nominees were announced, it became clear that the awards show would just be a smaller echo of musical popularity contests like the Grammys and the MTV Music Video Awards. Unlike more respected awards like the Oscars, or even the Emmys, there's no indication that any of the voters involved in the music awards of today have watched or heard even the smallest fraction of well-known music released in the past year — the simply rely on the music that already saturates radio and television. If the Oscars looked anything like the YouTube Music Awards or even the Grammys, Transformers would have won Best Picture.
And this hurts other artists. Another music awards show like the YouTube Music Awards means yet another awards show where millionaires give other millionaires shiny trophies. It means another lost opportunity for struggling artists to get a little recognition. It probably doesn't hurt someone as big as Tyler the Creator that much, but he tweeted about it anyway:
(Toro, of course, referring to Toro y Moi)
And he has a point. In many of these cases, the work (however pedestrian) is actually done by several different people. Someone else writes the song, directs the video, works on the costumes, does the choreography. In most of these cases, the artist only did 1/6 of the work, but they get an award for it anyway. And Tyler wasn't the only person who took issue with the award show; eclectic electronic producer and rapper Flying Lotus took to Twitter with is complaints as well (although his weren't in all caps).
The point being: These awards aren't as much for artists as they are grabs for ratings. Undoubtedly, there are smart people at MTV and YouTube who know about the talented and innovative things going on in music today. But they also know that having Miley Cyrus grind onstage, or Lady Gaga do whatever she'll do at the YouTube Music awards, will get them ratings. YouTube has become what MTV once was — it's the new center for pop culture, the one place where we all watch music videos. It could have created something interesting, something groundbreaking, something new, and, admittedly, it still has a chance to do so in future years. Instead, it went for the easy money and got a bunch of big names. Artists and audiences both lost out on the chance to see and participate in something great, and the only one who wins is the one running the show.