YouTube Is Launching Its Own Awards Show


Because there can never be enough awards shows comes news today that the online video streaming site YouTube is launching its own music awards show set to debut in November. The first annual YouTube Music Awards will announce the 2013 nominees on October 17 and the awards themselves will be handed out at a 90-minute ceremony in NYC, NY on November 3. The awards show will be broadcast live on YouTube, naturally, and will be made available for viewing afterward for the people who can not or choose not to watch the 90-minute show live at the appointed time. Eminem and Lady Gaga have agreed to perform and Jason Schwartzman will host.

YouTube is rolling out the red carpet for its first music awards show. The video platform has recruited Lady Gaga, Eminem and Acarde Fire to perform at the inaugural event, scheduled for Nov. 3. Spike Jonze, who directed … numerous music videos, has also signed on to be the award show’s creative director. Actor Jason Schwartzman, who was a songwriter prior to launching his film career, … will host. The show will present winners for six award categories, to be announced in October, based entirely from viewer votes. The 90-minute live event, backed by Kia Motors as the title sponsor, will take place at Pier 36 in New York, said YouTube’s vice president of marketing, Danielle Tiedt. “We’re trying to create live videos during the award shows so that the experience becomes more about creating than presenting,” Tiedt said in an interview. “Music is our bread and butter and our heart and soul here at YouTube. Our main goal is to not just do another award show. We wanted to do something special.” As a category, music has been among the largest on YouTube, Tiedt said, although she declined to quantify the number of views that music videos generate. Jonze told Billboard he was intrigued by the challenge of producing an “unconventional” awards show. “I want to find out if we can make a whole night just about making things,” Jonze said. “Instead of just doing performances, can we do live collaborations?” Neither Jonze nor YouTube would tip their hand about how they plan to make their awards show more engaging than, say, The Grammys. In terms of ratings, the show’s performance will not be measured by how many people tune in to the live event. “In general, 90% of all views for live events happen after the event itself,” Tiedt said. “The live event is a way to get people talking. Afterwards, it gets shared and shared.” Asked whether 90 minutes may be long for a YouTube video, Jonze replied, “There are no rules. Why does there have to be rules? It’s the Internet.”

Honestly, my initial reaction was … Ugh, really? Does there really have to be another awards show? But, I guess the answer to that questions is yes, in terms of changing media … there does need to be another awards show. If you consider how quickly MTV launched their own awards show after they got started in 1981, it’s actually pretty surprising that it took YouTube this long to come up with an awards show of their own. The MTV Video Music Awards quickly became a pop cultural hit (which is still fairly relevant today even tho MTV long ago abandoned their focus on music videos) and now that media is moving from traditional television airwaves to the Internet, it makes sense that YouTube would want to launch their own awards show. I can’t see legions of people logging onto their computers to watch this show as it airs live but eventually, I think that’s where we’re headed. YouTube is really going for it with this first annual show … securing big name acts to perform, lining up major advertising support. YouTube has the chance to redefine what awards shows can be like, which is exciting, I think. I also like that they aren’t going too crazy with the awards they plan to hand out. They’re planning to hand out 6 awards and offer live performances over the course of 90 minutes. Let’s see how they do. The nominations will be out in a couple of weeks and then the awards show will take place in a month’s time. Does this sound like a good idea to you? Will you be tuning in online to watch on November 3?


  • Mela

    I love the idea, as long as it’s not a carbon copy of what we already see so much of, which is pop star exhibition, rather than art. Youtube has made stars out of so many artists that wouldn’t have gotten nearly the exposure in the mainstream without them and I really hope some of them are represented rather than just the usuals. The Youtube awards, to me, shouldn’t be about record sales as it is about viewership, surprises, and the hidden gems. Please no foam finger masturbation. Please no foam finger masturbation. PLEASE no foam finger masturbation.

  • Britney’sBitch

    I like the idea cuz Youtube is basically MTV of today and Youtube awards have potential to be an actual VIDEO music awards. Looking forward to it.