The YouTube Music Awards are back for an encore.
The celebration originally conceived back in 2013 as a way for the world’s largest video sharing site to honor “artists and songs that YouTube fans have turned into global hits over the past year” is being retooled to look towards the future and “recognize the biggest and emerging artists to watch on YouTube in 2015.” That recognition will take the form of a special day in March 2015 when “music will be the headline act on YouTube” and the site will feature “new and unique music video collaborations with top directors and creators” all orchestrated with a reportedly great amount of fan interaction.
This all-online format is markedly different from YouTube’s initial Music Awards, where fans voted online for their favorite artists of the year and winners were announced by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts during a live show streamed straight from New York City’s Pier 36. Skateboarding music video and famous feature film director Spike Jonze directed the event, which featured a casted audience of prototypical teens and music videos shot live from Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Eminem, MIA, Lindsey Stirling, and more.
What will stay the same for YouTube’s sophomore YTMA performance, however, is the video platform’s partners. YouTube has reupped VICE Media as the Executive Producer of the event, while Kia Motors will once again be the YTMAs’ headline sponsor.
“Following the success of the first YouTube Music Awards, we at Kia Motors are thrilled to continue in our role as the presenting sponsor for this year’s event,” said Soon-Nam Lee, Vice President of Overseas Marketing, Kia Motors Corp, in the release. “YouTube is the perfect platform for connecting today’s most innovative artists with a billion fans around the world, and our ongoing partnership with the YouTube Music Awards is the perfect place to share Kia’s passion for digital entertainment and music.”
YouTube notes the 2013 YTMAs was “one of the most watched music awards events ever with more than 54 million views” across the live stream of the event itself and all of those plays on the aforementioned “live music videos” (some of which are really great). But that doesn’t mean the show wasn’t without issues and its fair share of critics.
Schwartzman noted in interviews before he hosted the YTMAs how he wanted the event to “feel like a YouTube video — the raw messiness of making stuff.” Not only is that sentiment an insult to the vast majority of YouTube creators who put enormous amounts of energy into making high-quality videos, what’s worse is Schwartzman succeeded. Technical issues and numerous WTF moments took center stage at an event that was supposed to honor creators, but showed little, if any reverence to the creative community.
The good news, though, is that YouTube has seemingly learned from its mistakes. The new format and the promise of those unique video collaborations is a fresh approach that will hopefully shine a brighter spotlight on established and emerging musicians alike. The initiative will also undoubtedly shine a brighter light on YouTube’s new music streaming service. On November 12, the video site officially announced its music streaming service YouTube Music Key. The subscription service competing with Spotify to be your go-to destination for all your listening needs will presumably factor heavily into the 2015 YTMAs.
In preparation and promotion of the event, YouTube will also release programming from “big stars and emerging musicians” on the official YouTube Music Awards channel. First up is GD X TAEYANG. Take a look: