The YouTube Music Awards broadcast live from New York City’s Pier 36 on Sunday, November 3, 2013. Hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of viewers tuned in from around the globe to the live stream and a few thousand attendees witnessed all the action from the venue as it happened. The live audience (who was treated to a wholly different experience from their online counterparts that was free of lag issues and streaming hiccups and full of direction from Spike Jonze as he filmed “live music videos”) was comprised of Google employees, industry VIPs, press, and hundreds of screaming teens and twentysomethings genuinely pumped to see the likes of Eminem, Lady Gaga, Avicii (pictured above), and more.
So, how did those screaming teens and twentysomethings score tickets to the big show? They were the lucky recipients of ticket giveaways from individuals and communities with an endemic YouTube audience (like Ryan Seacrest listeners) or they were cast.
I spoke to a number of the fans in the room before, after, and during the awards. They all seemed to get there by way of Facebook messages or ads delivered from the pages or news feeds of the night’s main performers, including MIA, Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Arcade Fire, and the aforementioned Avicii, Eminem, and Gaga. The message or ad directed fans to a site run by Gotham Casting, where they were instructed to send in their vital stats along with either a headshot, a quick couple sentences on why they should attend, or both.
The submissions selected by Gotham were sent the email below and granted entrance into the event, as well as pizza.
It’s not totally atypical for an awards show to have some type of casting process to both vet and determine it’s audience (especially if that audience is going to play a role on screen in live tapings of music videos), but it’s interesting to see how that audience gets to be there. The above information is good, too, for all those sitting at home who wished they could’ve attended and want to try to find a way in next year.