How Much is EDM Represented in The MTV VMAs?

The MTV VMAs ceremony just took place last Monday, August 26, at the Prudential Center in Newark.

25 awards were handed out to different artists in different categories. The “Best Dance” category was dominated by EDM artists (or at least they were EDM at one point). The nominees were the following :

  • Clean Bandit (featuring Demi Lovato) – ‘Solo’
  • DJ Snake (featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B) – ‘Taki Taki’
  • David Guetta, Bebe Rexha and J Balvin – ‘Say My Name’
  • Marshmello and Bastille – ‘Happier’
  • Silk City and Dua Lipa – ‘Electricity’
  • The Chainsmokers and Bebe Rexha – ‘Call You Mine’

The Chainsmokers were the ones to go home with the astronaut trophy. Overall, the most awarded artists were Ariana GrandeTaylor Swift, and Billie Eilish with three each. Ariana and Taylor Swift also had the most nominations with twelve.

You might be wondering by now if other artists from the electronic music scene had any luck in other categories. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Even with electronic music becoming more and more mainstream in the last years, it is once again, under-represented in this kind of event.

In the past years only a few EDM artists were awarded in the VMAs. These artists were:

  • Avicii & Rita Ora ‘Lonely Together’ – Best Dance 2018
  • Zedd & Alessia Cara ‘Stay’ – Best Dance 2017
  • Calvin Harris ‘Feel So Close’ – Best Dance 2016
  • SkrillexDiplo & Justin Bieber ‘Where Are U Now’ – Best Special Effects 2015
  • DJ Snake and Lil Jon ‘Turn Down for What’ – Best Direction 2014
  • Skrillex ‘First Of The Year (Equinox)’ – Best special effects 2012
  • Fatboy Slim ‘Weapon Of Choice’ – “Best Art direction” 2001
  • Fatboy Slim ‘Weapon Of Choice’ – Best editing 2001
  • Fatboy Slim ‘Praise You’ – Best breakthrough 1999

Even if it is not a trophy per se, we can also include a big moment for electronic music at the VMAs. This was when Deadmau5 was named “House artist” in 2010.

Note that in the last four years the only representation of electronic music artists was entirely in the “Best Dance” category. But even in this one, You don’t need to go back much further in time to find an EDM artist.

Some will argue that the other music genres today are offering higher quality and deserve more to be awarded, maybe.

But this under-representation is probably due to the fact that the VMAs are not historically close to EDM. It’s rather Pop music and Rap who are the big stars of this kind of awards. Rappers and Pop artists are more mainstream, generate a higher number of views and more buzz. They also can present and perform on stage during these ceremonies, making the show even more eye-catching.

Even when the Chainsmokers performed at the VMAs in 2016, it was more about the signers than electronic music. After all, it’s the singing and dancing performances that viewers are looking for. It is what makes a good show at the VMAs and most of the music awards ceremonies.

No matter what the reason is for this lack of representation of the EDM scene, we would love to see it get its fair share of nominations and awards. It will probably take some time and for sure a lot of work before that happens, but when it does, we will be here to celebrate it.