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Despite Ratings Drop, VMAs Performers See Music Sales Spike

2012-mtv-vma_thelavalizardWhile last week’s MTV Video Music Awards saw a significant drop in television viewers compared to last year’s (6.1 million vs. 12.4 million – due largely to the Democratic National Convention taking place the same night), the awards were the top social media event of the year according research company Trendrr, seeing more than triple the Internet conversation as last year’s awards. Despite the drop in TV viewership however, performers at the VMAs saw highly positive impacts to their music sales following the show.

Pink and Alicia Keys showed increases at iTunes in the 80% and 100% ranges respectively after their performances – both landing inside the Top 10 on iTunes songs chart within 24 hours of the VMAs. Pink’s single “Blow Me One Last Kiss” saw an 89% increase and made its way to #6 on the iTunes singles chart, while Alicia Keys’ single “Girl on Fire” jumped 88% to rank at #8.

Rihanna, who opened the show performing the songs “Cockiness” and “We Found Love”, saw sales of “Cockiness” jump over 1600% this week and helped “We Found Love” bump up by 86% (Rihanna went on to win the VMA Video of the Year for “We Found Love”).

Perhaps the biggest noise maker at this year’s VMAs (literally) was the U.K. boy group One Direction, who won multiple VMA awards for their hit “What Makes You Beautiful”, including Best Pop Video and performed their hit “One Thing”, seeing sales on “What Makes You Beautiful” increase by 15% this week, while “One Thing” jumped by 51%.

While the majority of these performances came along with flamethrowers, giant pairs of lips, and elaborate moving platforms, the true standout performance of the show came from Frank Ocean, who proved that a stripped down soulful performance can be just as powerful (if not more) than pyrotechnics or even winning an award. His performance of “Thinkin ‘Bout You” alongside only an electric guitar caused Lady Gaga to tweet that Ocean “stole the show”. Consumers also spoke loudly by helping sales rise by 373%, despite the fact that he lost out on the Best New Artist award to the evening’s big winners One Direction.

Proving that even making an appearance can be enough, Drake picked up the award for Best Hip-Hop Video for his song “HYFR” featuring Lil Wayne and saw a sales increase of 137% for the song. Chris Brown also won the Best Male Video award for “Turn Up the Music” and sales of that song increased by 59%.

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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