VMA 2016: New video prize reflects current music industry model

VMA nominees include Beyonce, Adele, and Kanye West. This year, MTV added the new category of breakthrough long form video, a prize for which artists such as Beyonce and Justin Bieber received nominations.

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Beyonce performs 'Freedom' at the BET Awards in Los Angeles in 2016.

Beyonce, Adele, Kanye West, and other artists will face off for top prizes at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards as MTV adds a new category that reflects some of the twists on the music video genre that are currently being produced.

Adele’s song “Hello,” Drake’s song “Hotline Bling,” Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry,” Beyonce’s track “Formation,” and Mr. West’s “Famous” are competing for what is often viewed as the top prize at the ceremony, the video of the year award. 

Beyonce scored the most nods, earning 11 total, including nominations for best female video for “Hold Up,” best collaboration (with Kendrick Lamar for “Freedom”), and best pop video (again for “Formation”).   

Other nominees for best female video are Adele for “Hello,” Sia for “Cheap Thrills,” Ariana Grande for “Into You,” and Rihanna for “Work,” a video which features Drake. 

Drake (“Hotline Bling”), Bryson Tiller (“Don’t”), Calvin Harris (“This Is What You Came For,” which features Rihanna), West (“Famous”), and The Weeknd (“Can’t Feel My Face”) are the nominees for the best male video. 

Drake and Mr. Tiller received nominations for best hip-hop video for the same songs and the category also included Desiigner for “Panda,” Chance The Rapper for “Angels,” and 2 Chainz for “Watch Out.” 

The best pop video nominees are Adele for “Hello,” Beyonce for “Formation,” Mr. Bieber for “Sorry,” Alessia Cara for “Wild Things,” and Ms. Grande for “Into You.” 

The nominees for best rock video are All Time Low for “Missing You,” Coldplay for “Adventure Of A Lifetime,” Fall Out Boy for “Irresistible,” twenty one pilots for “Heathens,” and Panic! At The Disco for “Victorious,” while the nominees for best electronic video are Calvin Harris & Disciples for “How Deep Is Your Love,” 99 Souls for “The Girl Is Mine,” Mike Posner for “I Took A Pill in Ibiza,” Afrojack for “SummerThing!,” and The Chainsmokers for “Don’t Let Me Down.” 

This year, MTV added a new category, that of best breakthrough long form video. The nominees for that prize are Florence + The Machine for “The Odyssey,” Beyonce for “Lemonade,” Justin Bieber for “Purpose: The Movement,” Chris Brown for “Royalty,” and Troye Sivan for “Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy.” 

When discussing the new prize, MTV itself noted the amount of experimentation with the music video form that is currently happening, saying it prompted the new award.

“So many artists are doing amazing things with multi-part music video series (like Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ and Justin Bieber’s ‘PURPOSE: The Movement’) that there’s now a whole new category for them,” MTV writer Sasha Geffen wrote. 

Many of the nominees for breakthrough long form video attracted praise prior to their nominations, with Rolling Stone writer Sarah Grant calling Florence + the Machine’s “Odyssey” video "dazzling" and "visually striking," while International Business Times writer Toyin Owoseje called Beyonce’s “Lemonade” video a “visual masterpiece."

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