YouTube Launches Inaugural Music Awards Live in New York City [Video]

YouTube Launches First Music Awards Live in New York City

In a live event set to celebrate itself as the harbingers in the rise of global celebrity phenomenology via its pop culture videos, online video titan YouTube will be launching its own inaugural YouTube Music Awards from Pier 36 in New York City On November 3.

The platform, owned by Google, will stage the live 90-minute event, which is to be hosted by actor Jason Schwartzman, while filmmaker Spike Jonze, renowned for his multiple music video promos for artists such as Beastie Boys, Björk, D.A.F.T Punk, Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers, is tagged for creative director.  Executively produced by Vice Media and Sunset Lane, performances are also to take place from the likes of Arcade Fire, Eminem and Lady Gaga.

You can view Jason Schwartzman’s promo for the inaugural event, performed in a way only Schwartzman can, here:

Korean-owned Kia automotive group is signed as the show’s sponsors, following both Kia and YouTube’s teaming as major sponsors for the 4th annual VidCon Conference in Anaheim, California last month.

YouTube has come a long way since its launch eight years ago.  Founded originally by three earlier employees of PayPal, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, the company quickly became one of the fastest growing sites on the World Wide Web and was bought up in 2006 by Google for US $1.65 billion in stock.  Its first ever video was posted by co-founder Karim and was a short piece from a visit he made to San Diego Zoo, entitled Me at the Zoo, which is still available for viewing to this day. 

Now, millions of videos and probably billions of video views later, YouTube users have made the site become as much a household name as Google itself.  It is the first point of call for finding trending video footage as Google is as a search engine.  Whether it is a homemade video that is being searched for, or a music band’s creation of a new YouTube channel, it is the multiple hits from music fans, driven also by an “Epic Fail” schadenfreude culture and coupled with elements of voyeurism thrown into the mix that have all helped make YouTube into the platform giant it now is today.

Conversely, YouTube has also made massive names out of the artists whose videos millions fans have endlessly hit the search button for on a daily basis.  It has helped jettison the careers of artists like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and PSY, whose Gangnam Style video has reached close to 2 billion views to date, and who we might not have heard of across the globe, had it not been for the power of YouTube.  Channels that have been set up for hard core gamers, featuring elements from Rockstar Games’ GTA V, which has only been released over a week ago, have already received millions of hits, such is the power of the mother ship of platforms.

So it may seem that there is nothing left but for YouTube to celebrate its powerful role in the music ecosystem, or so says Danielle Tiedt, YouTube’s vice president of marketing, who boasts YouTube’s breaking of music stars like Cyrus and dancing violin sensation, Lindsey Stirling.

However, it would not be strictly true to say that there is nothing left, because there is plenty.  What amateur and professional filmmakers alike could be waiting for is for opportunity for the platform to launch a Movie Awards for the thousands of talented filmmakers out there in the web sphere who have not yet received the recognition they deserve. What YouTube has done for musicians, it can also do the same for filmmakers and graphic artists for games design.  With channels such as Ultrabrilliant, whose creator one day decided against following the actual game itself, choosing instead to soar above the beaten track, only to discover the incredible detail and hard work that games designers had put into the scenery.  From that point, Ultrabrilliant’s YouTube series, Other Places was born, celebrating the beautiful video game world, blending stunning musical beds with equally striking video footage from games like GTA V, Final Fantasy, Portal 2 and Mafia II, among many others.

YouTube Music Awards’ creative director, Jonze says that the Awards night will be all about collaborations and creativity, in the spirit of all the users of YouTube and that aside from the giving out of awards, the night will also lend itself to the creation of live music videos, becoming like one huge YouTube video in itself.

Shows will be featuring performances from Brazil, London, Moscow and Seoul, Korea.  Other performing artists have yet to be announced, with the nominations up for awards to be announced on October 17th.  Award selections will be based upon fans’ votes over the many videos watched by YouTube users this past year.

The YouTube Music Awards are also timed perfectly for the release of Eminem’s new album, MMLP2, due out November 5, as well as Lady Gaga’s Artpop, which is set for release November 11, while Arcade Fire’s third album, Reflektor, comes out October 29.  But let us not also forget Jonze’s science fiction-romance, Her, whose world premiere will be held at the New York Film Festival, then opening nationwide on December 18.

The inaugural YouTube Award ceremony can be viewed on YouTube on November 3 and is expected to break new ground as the harbinger of the global celebrity phenomenon as it makes its debut from Pier 36 in New York City.  One can only wonder what the actual awards will look like.


Written by: Brucella Newman

USA Today



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