More Than Just an Award: What the 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards Did for Artists

Music award shows are great. Fans eagerly tune in to see if their favorite artists win trophies and catch a few performances in-between the handouts. Musicians feel validated by listeners and the musical community alike as they're nominated and/or given an award recognizing them for their achievements in their art. But in the end, an award is just a hunk of material -- it's a fancy knickknack that sits on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. So the question remains: what do award shows really give to the artists involved? The 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards has an answer: sales, social media, and chart spikes.

Here are the numbers from this year's show, according to an MTV press release on the subject:

  • Machine Gun Kelly aka MGK, who co-hosted this year's Woodies and won the "Woodie of the Year," experienced a 25 percent increase in digital albums sales along with a social media impact that included a massive increase of over 70 percent in Facebook likes and a respectable 12 percent increase in Twitter followers post-show.
  • Tegan and Sara also co-hosted and performed that evening, and they too fared well in many of those arenas. Their time on screen resulted in some increased album sales but an enormous 163 percent jump in the number of people downloading their single "Closer." When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, the duo ended up with more than 790,000 new likes and 760,000 followers, respectively.
  • As for non-hosts at this year's Woodies, performers Zedd and twenty one pilots both got in on the action, with the former's single "Clarity" jumping more than 70 spots on the Billboard Digital Songs Chart and the latter's sales of their single "Holding on to You" rising 33 percent.

So what's with the big spikes in downloads, clicks, and plays? Whenever a music awards show airs, there's almost always an increase in some of those aspects for the performers and nominees involved. For shows like mtvU's Woodies, the fan-based voting also clearly plays a role in increasing online interaction.

Perhaps most notably, though, it's the newness of it all that make the college award's show a success: the Woodie Awards spotlight up-and-coming performers, meaning it's more likely that those watching won't be as familiar with the artists and/or songs featured throughout the night. Nothing buzzes the World Wide Web quite like something they haven't heard before -- heck, just look at the impact Justin Timberlake's performances on the Grammy Awards this year.

What does this mean for awards shows and their participants? Well, it seems the biggest lesson from the 2013 Woodie Awards is that it benefits both the artists themselves and the awards shows that feature them to include emerging talent in the lineup. Not only that, but utilizing at least some aspect of fan-based voting, even just for one award, may exponentially increase the amount of attention an event or musician receives online.

So congrats, 2013 Woodies, on sending home this year's hosts, performers, and winners with a little something extra: career milestones. They're sure to be appreciated long after the hunks of wood are forgotten.