Broadcasted live and completely online, the YouTube Music Awards brought international superstars to the laps and desktops of people around the world.
The first ever YouTube Music Awards was broadcasted Sunday night from Pier 36 in Manhattan, N.Y. Its sole basis was to bring online participation of the viewers to the decisions made for those nominated. Even though it brought skeptics out of the woodwork, it also brought a revolutionized way to view and decide on awards for big name celebrities.
Award nominees were chosen by their YouTube statistics that included video views, video likes, video comments and channel subscriptions. The live performers included Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Eminem, Avicii and M.I.A. among others. All performances were staged as “live music videos,” rather than regular live performances. The winners were chosen based on their video share counts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
One of the clearest downsides to the presentation was the amount of people who checked into the event. At its peak, only 220,000 people were viewing the presentation. This was a minuscule number compared to the 10.1 million viewers of the MTV Video Music Awards in August.
The winners were both surprising and predictable. Eminem took home Artist of the Year. Going against more mainstream pop musicians like One Direction and Justin Beiber, it was surprising that Eminem won. Girls’ Generation’s video, “I Got A Boy,” won Video of the Year. This video was followed with a conclusive, “Who?” Even though the video had almost 75 million views on YouTube, it was not as common to the Western world as other nominees such as Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” which had more than 95 million views, or Miley Cyrus’ video, “We Can’t Stop,” which had more than 264 million views.
Other awards won included Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix’s video “Radioactive,” which won Response of the Year. Response of the Year was created for the best video remixes, covers or parodies by fans. The YouTube Phenomenon award was taken home by Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.” This category was for the video that sparked the most fan reactions. YouTube Breakthrough was taken home by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, which was based on the artists’ growth in views and subscribers over the past year. Finally, Innovation of the Year was won by DeStorm’s “See Me Standing” video. The Innovation of the Year award recognized some of the unique creators and concepts in videos over the past year.
All of the hype and excitement of the award show, however, was overshadowed by technical difficulties and general confusion. The site was often down due to an overload of servers. Musical cues were missed during performances and microphones malfunctioned. It was difficult at times to follow what audience members were supposed to be doing.
If you were not one of the 220,000 viewers who tuned in, it’s probably for the best. While it was YouTube’s first year putting on a production like this, it could have gone significantly better, especially with the amount of big name acts they had. These people are here for your production, but with technological mishaps and the website not always being functional, it was almost a waste of time. Highlights from the event are on YouTube.