I like to keep my eyes on the music charts, and doing that, I occasionally notice large shifts triggered by big media events.
I would propose that these shifts can tell us a little about the power of certain media events, like the Teen Choice Awards or the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).
For example. If you got to MTV.com today and look at their list of Top Artists, you’ll notice that Lady Gaga is #1. This is relatively new. For most of 2009, Lil Wayne has occupied that slot.
Do you know when that changed?
Lady Gaga jumped to the #1 spot the Monday after the MTV VMAs (my writeup about that show here). TV audiences must have loved her bizarre outfits, her blood-soaked finally to her song Paparazzi (which soared up the charts on iTunes the next day), and her articulate acceptance speech (“This is for my CENSORED fans! … and it’s for God and for gays!”)
I’ve been watching Gaga’s reign to see how long it would last. We’ll see… but as of today, she still sits on the MTV “Top Artist” throne.
MTV’s VMA’s yield quite a lot of power to affect the charts that instantaneously.
Another blip on the charts occurred the night after the Teen Choice Awards, August 10th. Until that night, the Black Eyed Peas occupied the number one spot with their song, I Gotta Feeling (the song that our kids will tell us is clean… but is it?) But the day after the Teen Choice Awards, Miley’s song Party in the USA was on top of iTunes, and eventually Billboard’s Hot 100. I guess her sexy little escapades that night paid off.
Don’t be fooled; TV still has a lot of influence over pop culture.
Keep your eyes on MTV.com’s top artist list. Pop on iTunes and see what the most downloaded songs are. Jump on Billboard.com and see what’s on the Hot 100 (usually very close to the iTunes Top 10). If you have no idea what the song is, use iTunes and click on the song for a 30 second preview. Google the video and take a peek for yourself. Google the lyrics and see what these artists are actually saying.
A 10 minute search just once a month can keep you aware of some of the content our kids are absorbing day to day.