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MTV VMAs Ratings Drop Again, Draw 6.5 Million Viewers Across Nets

Drake Confesses His Love For Rihanna at VMAs

Taylor Swift Shut Out of MTV Video Music Awards 2016 Nominations

Before Frank Ocean's 'Blonde,' the Indie Albums That Have Topped the Billboard 200

BritneyMTV VMAs Ratings Drop Again, Draw 6.5 Million Viewers Across Nets

The flagship show for the cable network sees streaming spike but a 34 percent drop.

The MTV Video Music Awards saw another year of diminished audience returns on Sunday night. Across 11 Viacom networks, the premiere telecast brought in 6.5 million viewers.

Compared to last year's show, which pulled a similar move by casting a wide net across the cable entertainment suite, the VMAs are down by more than 4 million viewers. All told, the 2015 show grossed just shy of 10 million viewers across all of the networks.

With headlining performances by Beyonce, Rihanna and Britney Spears, this year's VMAs mark a low for ratings on the main network, as well. Last year it brought 5 million viewers, falling from the 8.3 million in 2014.

The network was quick to point to more promising streaming data on Monday morning. A network release touted a 70 percent increase (62.8 million video starts) in streams from VMA day in 2015. Facebook streaming was up 938 percent.

You know what they say—if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And we do have one nice thing to say about Britney Spears‘ comeback performance at the VMAs tonight: She is in incredible shape.
Unfortunately, beyond that, we don’t have a ton of positive things to say about the performance that Kim Kardashian called her “triumphant return to the stage” when she introduced her. “It’s Britney, bitch,” Kardashian said, slinking across the stage in her designer post-baby body.

And it was, indeed, Britney, bitch, but … Britney in a yellow Ice Capades costume. And though she started out strong, her choreography started lagging a bit about halfway through.

The last time Spears performed at the VMAs was in 2007, so all eyes were on her tonight. “We’ve watched her tame a snake and be very untamed with the one and only Madonna,” Kardashian said in her intro. “Tonight we have the pleasure of seeing what she’ll do next.”

She performed her new single, “Make Me,” featuring G-Eazy, from her album that just dropped, Glory. In a halfhearted attempt to be as provocative as, say, that lip-kiss she planted on Madonna back in the day that Kardashian was referencing, she pulled a weird crotch-grab from behind on G-Eazy, but other than that, this was Britney-lite.

In case you’ve never heard of G-Eazy, don’t worry: Neither have we. Apparently he’s “best known” for a collab he did with Bebe Rexha called “Me, Myself & I,” according to Fuse.

Maybe her stiff dance moves were just a side effect of terrible nerves. Spears told “Cubby and Carolina in the Morning” that she wasn’t feeling particularly at ease ahead of her VMAs performance. “I think there’s something in the air with the VMAs. It’s, like, electric. I can’t really explain it,” Spears said on Friday. “Every time I’ve performed there, it’s always been one of those really big, nerve-racking experiences, and the people that come—those celebrities—are just so much fun and different. … I still get very nervous.”

Maybe that was it. Nerves.

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Drake Confesses His Love For Rihanna at VMAs

Could a proposal be in the cards for Rihanna and Drake? That’s what fans were hoping for when Drake declared his love for the singer at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, August 28.

The “Controlla” rapper, 29, gave a revealing and heartfelt speech when he presented his rumored girlfriend with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, and it sent their fans into overdrive.

No sooner had Drake revealed, “She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old,” than Twitter erupted with people hoping he was going to pop the question.

“I bet EVERYONE thought that @Drake was about to propose to @Rihanna, because EVERYBODY WANTS THAT, ha! #VMAs,” wrote one fan.

Others echoed the reaction, writing: “Raise your hand if you thought @Drake was going to propose to @rihanna #VMAs,” and “Drake is gonna propose right?”

“I think MTV cut out Drake’s marriage proposal to Rihanna because it would have been too much for the general public to handle,” joked another.

he hopeful followers were reacting to the passionate speech that had the Canadian star close to tears.

"The first time I met Robyn Fenty was 2005," Drake began, using RiRi's birth name. "She was shooting a music video at a restaurant called Avocado in Toronto. The song was 'Pon de Replay' and the director of the video was Little X. I was introduced to her as a kid who played background music at the restaurant as people ate their dinner. It’s hard to believe that 11 years later all three of us would come together for a visual for a song called 'Work.' Today, the world knows Little X as Director X. They know me as Drake and not the kid singing while you order pasta. But 11 years later, we still all know Rihanna as the one and only Rihanna."

He continued: "What's most impressive isn’t the endless list of stats, awards and accomplishments. What's most impressive is the person. Some artists need to play a character to achieve success. Some need to downplay their own natural instincts to blend in. She succeeds by doing something that no one in this music industry does, which is being herself.

"We love the music, which could change styles from album to album. We love the videos, which change their artistic vision from year to year. But most of all, we love the woman, who hasn't changed since day one. She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old. She's one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life, I've looked up to her even though she's younger than me. She's a living, breathing legend in our industry. Ladies and gentlemen, the recipient of the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award for 2016: Rihanna."

They kissed on stage before Rihanna, 28, made her acceptance speech.

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Taylor Swift Shut Out of MTV Video Music Awards 2016 Nominations

MTV had a blank space, but didn’t write Taylor Swift’s name! When the network announced the nominees for the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, Swift was not on the list.

Us Weekly unveiled the full list of nominees via Facebook Live Tuesday afternoon, revealing that Beyoncé earned a career-best 11 nominations for her Lemonade visuals, while Adele landed eight nods for her hits “Hello” and “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).”

Swift, however, received zero nominations, a surprising turn of events for the 26-year-old singer, who led the pack of honorees at last year’s ceremony with 10 nominations for “Bad Blood.” It is possible, however, that Swift isn’t eligible this year because she took home so many awards in 2015 and her album came out in late 2014.

In the past year, the six-time VMA winner has released three music videos — “Wildest Dreams,” “Out of the Woods” and “New Romantics” — from her latest album, 1989.

Although the cinematic “Wildest Dreams” visual debuted during the 2015 VMA preshow, the network neglected to recognize it nearly a year later. “Out of the Woods” also landed a high-profile premiere on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in December 2015, but it was overlooked, too.

Last year, the VMAs made headlines when Nicki Minaj slammed MTV for snubbing “Anaconda” from the Video of the Year category. “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year. I’m not always confident. Just tired. Black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it,” she tweeted at the time.

Swift mistakenly thought the rapper’s comment was about her “Bad Blood” nomination and quickly replied: “@NICKIMINAJ I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.”
A month later, Minaj, 33, and the blonde songstress buried the hatchet and shocked fans with a surprise performance of their songs “Trini Dem Girls,” “The Night Is Still Young” and, of course, “Bad Blood.”

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Before Frank Ocean's 'Blonde,' the Indie Albums That Have Topped the Billboard 200

Frank Ocean has, as widely predicted, topped this week's Billboard 200 chart with Blonde, earning 276,000 album-equivalent units in the week of its release -- the year's third-largest debut after Drake's Views and Beyonce's Lemonade.

Less expected, as it became clear just how imminent the long-rumored record was, was that Ocean's follow-up to Channel Orange would be an independent release, in every sense of the word. As we learned last week, Ocean and his team had, though either (or both) a clever strategy and a strained relationship with his label Def Jam, broken from his deal Def Jam after the release of his visual album Endless, released to Apple Music the day prior to Blonde. (Endless will not be popping up on the charts -- here's an explanation as to why.)

Whether Ocean's break from Def Jam was acrimonious or expected, an independent record topping the Billboard 200 is a relatively rare thing. Let's break it down.

The last independently distributed album to be No. 1 on the Billboard 200 was on this year's July 23 chart, when Blink-182’s California debuted at No. 1, released through Blink’s label Viking Wizard Eyes LLC, licensed to BMG, and distributed through ADA. (Note: This comparison is not quite apples-to-apples; Blink-182 still employed BMG to market and promote the album, and ADA, which is owned by Warner Music Group, to distribute it.)

The last self-released album that sidestepped a traditional distribution company entirely (such as Sony's RED or Warner Music's ADA) and went straight to a retailer, then it was Garth Brooks’ box set Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences from 2013, which climbed to No. 1 on the chart dated Dec. 21 of that year. The set was released on Brooks’ own Pearl Records label, and sold exclusively through Anderson Merchandisers in Walmart stores.

Below, a list of the indie-distributed records that have topped the Billboard 200 since Nielsen Music (formerly SoundScan) began powering that chart on May 25, 1991:

- N.W.A., Efil4zaggin -- on Ruthless Records, founded by N.W.A.’s Eazy-E, (distributed by then-indie Priority Records)
- Ice Cube, The Predator (Priority)
- Soundtrack, The Lion King (then-indie Walt Disney Records)
- Soundtrack, Friday (Priority)
- Soundtrack, Pocahontas (still-indie Walt Disney Records)
- Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, E. 1999 Eternal (Ruthless Records, distributed by Priority)
- Tha Dogg Pound, Dogg Food (Death Row/Interscope, distributed by Priority)
- Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, The Art of War (Ruthless, distributed by Priority)
- The Eagles, Long Road Out Of Eden (self-released on band’s label ERC -- Eagles Recording Company -- via Walmart)
- Radiohead, In Rainbows (TBD Records, distributed by RED)
- Pearl Jam, Backspacer (self-released on band’s label Monkeywrench. initially sold exclusively in the U.S. through Target, iTunes, Pearl Jam’s website and indie retailers)
- Vampire Weekend, Contra (XL Recordings, distributed by ADA, Matador Direct, Beggars Group Digital)
- Various Artists, Hope For Haiti Now (MTV Networks, distributed by INgrooves)
- Arcade Fire, The Suburbs (Merge Records, distributed by ADA)
- Cake, Showroom of Compassion (released on band’s own Upbeat Records, distributed by ADA)
- Mac Miller, Blue Slide Park (Rostrum Records, distributed by Fontana)
- Mumford & Sons, Babel (Glassnote, distributed by RED)
- Jason Aldean, Night Train (Broken Bow,distributed by RED)
- Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City (XL, distributed by ADA, Matador Direct, Beggars Group Digital)
- Queens of the Stone Age, Like Clockwork (Matador, distributed by ADA, Matador Direct, Beggars Group Digital)
- Garth Brooks, Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences (on Brooks’ own Pearl Records, sold exclusively through Walmart)
- Lecrae, Anomaly (on Reach Records, which Lecrae co-owns, distributed by RED and New Day)
- Jason Aldean, Old Boots, New Dirt (on Broken Brow Records, distributed by RED)
- Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color (ATO Records, distributed through Caroline)
- Tyrese, Black Rose (on Tyrese's Voltron Recordz, distributed through Caroline)
- Janet Jackson, Unbreakable (on her own Rhythm Nation Records and licensed to BMG, distributed by INgrooves)
- The Lumineers, Cleopatra (released on Dualtone, distributed by ADA)
- Blink-182, California (released by the band on its Viking Wizard Eyes LLC, licensed to BMG, distributed by ADA)

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