by Kat Feary on Friday, November 22nd, 2013
The first ever YouTube Music Awards took place Sunday, November 3, in Manhattan’s famous Pier 36 building. Compared to the Country Music Awards, the Grammy’s, and the American Music Awards, the YouTube Music Awards attempted to portray a far more accessible, broad, and laid-back show. Their categories are based on everyday videos, whereas other awards promote large-scale, corporate machines. The amateur nature of many of the videos that receive recognition at the YouTube Music Awards provides refreshing respite from the titans that manipulate the entertainment industry today.
Although they appear a lot less formal compared to other popular music award shows, these awards themselves are a huge step up from the disorganized realm of YouTube. New York Times writer Virginia Heffernan was a critic of the new awards when they were first established. She thought that for a site designed as a place for people “to post videos and express oneself free of judgment of quality,” there should not be a “formalized process…about awards and individual recognition of merit.”
Despite her criticism, the awards were generally well-received in the Internet community. Now, almost two weeks after the live showing of the YouTube Music Awards, there have been approximately 33 million views of videos from the show. Even though most views occurred after the original showing, this number is still a huge step for the brand and the awards. In some regards, the post-show viewership is a reflection of current American norms, especially given that DVR is rapidly becoming the most popular form of television viewership today.
In the days following the awards, Eminem’s full throttle version of “Rap God” reeled in 10 million viewers, while “Dope” by Lady Gaga has already received 14.7 million hits. Of course, because many prefer how polished the edited performances are, taped live performances are generally less fun to watch. Regardless, the YouTube Music Awards established the precedent for future online music awards ceremonies. As our lives shift more and more into the virtual realm, events similar to the YouTube Music Awards will continue to pop up.
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