People who listen to the radio still really like Taylor Swift. Swift took home the awards for Artist Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best Lyrics at last night’s iHeartRadio Awards, which are really just an excuse for media conglomerate Clear Channel to toot its own horn. The company brands the iHeartRadio Awards as a populist alternative to the Grammys, with the prizes coming from both fan votes and radio play. But either of those can be at least a little bought, what with major label promotion, ticket giveaways, ads, and “surprise” artist pop-ins at Clear Channel affiliates which could then share the content with other Clear Channel stations. It’s not an original format (see also the American Music Awards, MTV’s Video Music Awards, Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, and so on), but it’s one that’s clearly been at least a little successful for the mega-corporation, with last night’s live broadcast drawing 5.5 million viewers.
Last night’s awards also celebrated individual artists’ “journeys,” with artists like Nicki Minaj and Hozier taking the stage to talk about how Lil Wayne and the Internet, respectively, helped spark their careers. Justin Timberlake also nabbed the iHeartRadio Innovator award, which is sort of like the Grammy for lifetime achievement, if a lifetime is about 20 years.