LONDON (Billboard) - The latest edition of MTV’s Europe Music Awards was designed to resolve carping about a lack of exposure for European acts on the global broadcast. But the jury’s still out as to whether it succeeded.
Ahead of the annual event, held November 1 in Munich, organizers acknowledged previous criticism of its perceived lack of commitment to showcasing European talent.
“The problem for us is finding music that crosses borders,” said Richard Godfrey, the show’s executive producer. “In terms of music from continental Europe, there have been great bands that have sold across Europe — but not that many.”
Nielsen Music Control data based on monitoring 10 MTV channels in Europe from January 1-October 18 showed that, of the top 100 records played, European artists accounted for just 27, with British or Irish acts accounting for 19 of those slots.
The only European track to crack the top 10 was Mika’s “Grace Kelly.” The Lebanese-born, United Kingdom-based artist performed at the awards show, as did British acts Babyshambles and Amy Winehouse, and local band Tokio Hotel. Five acts from North America performed at the Snoop Dog-hosted event, including Avril Lavigne, Foo Fighters and My Chemical Romance. The 2006 ceremony in Copenhagen featured 12 acts, with four from Europe — two of which were UK-based.
The Munich show featured the inaugural New Sounds of Europe category, providing a platform for lesser-known European acts. Estonia’s Bedwetters beat out two other eastern European finalists in a public vote for the award and were the final performers of the night.
MTV also tweaked other award categories and opened the voting to viewers, who, the network reports, cast 50 million votes.
While welcoming the changes, many European industry insiders still feel more needs to be done to support local acts. “(As always), they had great bands playing,” notes Horst Weidenmuller, managing director of Berlin-based independent music company !K7 Label Group, “but other than exposing three bands from the Eastern region, there was nothing new for Europe.”