YouTube's first music awards signal intention to move into mainstream

Star-studded and quirky, website'smusic awards show intention to take a bigger role

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 8:45pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 8:48pm


The first YouTube Music Awards, improvised with plenty of celebrity cameos, saw awards going to rapper Eminem and hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

The show made a clear bid for the quirky, a benefit of being streamed by YouTube rather than broadcast on television.

The music sometimes felt a little overshadowed by all the hoopla, but that's because the event was also an announcement of sorts by YouTube of its intentions to take a bigger role in the music industry.

The music awards market is almost as crowded as the music market. YouTube featured big stars such as Lady Gaga to attract attention, while keeping enough of an outsider perspective to differentiate itself from MTV and the Grammys.

Although the Google-owned site has for years been a go-to place for music fans around the world, the site is now expected to introduce a paid music service by year-end to let music fans skip commercials via a paid subscription service.

"There was nothing scripted tonight," said actor Jason Schwartzman, who, along with performance artist Reggie Watts, hosted the show on Sunday, which Spike Jonze directed.

Eminem won the Artist of the Year award. Video of the Year was awarded to Girls' Generation, who are megastars in South Korea.

Breakthrough of the Year went to hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, whose songs include the gay rights anthem Same Love.

In an acknowledgement of the large amount of user-generated content that goes on YouTube - from yawning kittens to mobile phone video of world news - YouTube gave out something called Response of the Year. That prize went to Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix, for their cover of Imagine Dragons' Radioactive.