2021 AMAs Viewership Approaches Record Low Despite Performances From Olivia Rodrigo, BTS, and Coldplay

Olivia Rodrigo
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Olivia Rodrigo
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Olivia Rodrigo, who performed ‘Traitor’ at the 2021 American Music Awards. Photo Credit: Walt Disney Television / CC by 2.0

Television viewership for the 2021 American Music Awards (AMAs) finished at about four million watchers – almost identical to the record-low viewership delivered by the 2020 broadcast.

This and other noteworthy figures came to light in a newly published release, which was authored by ABC and features stats supplied by Nielsen. According to the concise analysis of the 2021 AMAs’ television and digital audiences, total viewers came in at four million for the former, as mentioned – nearly even with 2020’s 4.01 million. Similarly, the 47-year-old event’s 2021 edition turned in a 1.0 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic, even once again with that of 2020.

The 2020 AMAs’ total viewers and rating represented all-time lows, with viewers having declined in number from 6.68 million (and the 18-49 rating having fallen off from 1.7) in 2019. Consequently, as noted at the outset, the 2021 AMAs’ TV audience is almost the smallest in history, whereas the 18-49 rating is tied for the lowest to date.

Discouraging though the 2021 American Music Awards’ viewer stats appear on their own, the modest year-over-year decrease is something of a positive when stacked against the audience losses turned in by competing award shows.

To be sure, the Grammys aired in March to a more than 50 percent YoY decline in total television viewers (8.8 million) and an over 60 percent YoY decline in the 18-49 rating department (2.1). In brief, the Golden Globes, the Billboard Music Awards, the BET Awards, MTV’s VMAs, and the ACM Awards likewise plummeted to record viewership lows in 2021 – albeit while suffering double-digit YoY falloffs, in nearly every instance.

For additional reference, the American Music Awards – which in 2021 booked performances from Coldplay, BTS, Olivia Rodrigo, Jennifer Lopez, and Måneskin, to name some – in 2016 attracted 8.18 million television watchers (a 2.4 rating) and 9.15 million viewers in 2017 (a 2.4 rating once again).

Regarding the AMAs performance from the Eurovision winner Måneskin, it bears mentioning that music-competition programs such as The Voice are faring relatively well in terms of audience size, managing to outperform most annual music-award shows on a weekly basis – and more so with season finales. Season 21 of The Voice is set to conclude (with a live show) on Tuesday, December 14th.

It’s unclear what the across-the-board television-viewership downturn means for the long-term viability of award shows; MRC produces the AMAs, and a spokesperson didn’t respond to DMN’s request for comment about the ceremony’s 2021 TV ratings in time for publishing.

But the same release that disclosed the disappointing 2021 AMAs’ audience specifics emphasizes that the happening was the “most social telecast of 2021,” with 46.5 million total interactions on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

This number marks a 39 percent YoY bump, the text also relays, compared to a 68 percent YoY hike for 2021 AMAs’ video views, at 24 million. Keeping in mind all the highlighted audience-size details, logic suggests that some award shows will transition entirely to digital in the approaching years, possibly retooling their advertisements and shortening their decidedly long airtimes in the process.

11 Responses

      • Judy Bloot

        Oh no, DMN cares. They foam at the mouth for that guy…putting up stories that aren’t important all the time. #obsessed

  1. Tom Hendricks

    Say thanks to the Big Three Labels that control and now have ruined music sales, and done away with even interest in music.
    The only thing worse are those who complain but don’t support the thousands of musicians in the peaceful music revolution against the Big Three Labels.

    • Moe

      Reduced viewership isn’t tied to the labels, but blame who you like. People have many other distractions, especially lately.

  2. Truth

    I was triggered by the fire no lie… I don’t think in can watch pyro on a stage again and not think of Travis

  3. Extreme Gaping with Oranges

    Why can’t those mass murderers drive their SUV through one of these fake award shows?

    They would do society and culture a favor.

    I’d watch.

    • Idiot Detector

      you’re a fool

      What’s your address and a time you’ll be home? That’s where and when the SUV should be driving through.