A new kind of show
First-ever YouTube Music Awards proves social media diversifies music scene
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 15:10
When Justin Bieber hit radios and television screens in 2009, it was because of YouTube.
Fellow teen pop icons Cody Simpson and Austin Mahone jumped onto the YouTube platform and their fame seemed to launch overnight.
Clearly, YouTube is a powerful place.
It is a place that stimulates growth and confidence, allows criticism and thrives upon community support, so it makes sense that, this year, YouTube launched the brand-new YouTube Music Awards, set to take place online on Sunday.
Like any awards show, the mainstream dominates. Nominees include the usual suspects: Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato and, inevitably, One Direction. Not everyone is happy about the mainstream coming into focus once again after YouTube announced the awards would be “a new kind of awards show,” according to the YouTube official blog.
Tyler, the Creator left his manners behind when he tweeted, “YOUTUBE AWARDS COULDVE F****** HAD NOMINATIONS ON COOL CREATIVE VIDEOS S*** BUT NOOOO AGAIN IT’S THE MOST TEENY BOPPER POP S***. YOU ARE BUTT.”
And this reaction seems pretty justified, if you’re only looking at the awards from the outside.
So, why should the mainstream artists that have awards stockpiled around their homes be given another platform to outshine the musically talented underdogs in the competition? Well, the answer seems obvious – for the awards to gain momentum and publicity.
Whether you like it or not, Miley Cyrus has a bigger fan base than your favorite YouTube star. But by putting the two next to one another, surely the outcome is clear – the YouTube star gets a plethora of overnight views and subscribers that would have taken them years to obtain without the association.
On Sunday, millions will go online to watch the live awards show and they will be greeted with the pop big dogs and the little-league YouTube stars all at once. The assimilation is exciting.
In addition to the melting pot of musical talent, the voting system relies upon arguably the most influential tool in the music industry at the moment: social media. Social media stats such as views and likes determined the nominations, and the sharing of videos via social media will determine the winner.
It is a progression based on common sense. You are more likely to click a button and share your favorite video than to pick up the telephone and face the consequential and unreasonable phone charges.
By no means does this mean that the tools of yesteryear should be shoved to the backburners (the continuous playing of small shows, hours of rehearsal time in the garage, repetitively sending your E.P. to local radio stations, etc.), but it’s unarguable that the bigger your social media following, the more people are going to hear your talents. It, therefore, seems obvious that Gaga and Cyrus are hitting the top of the nominations lists – they’re also sitting pretty with the highest number of Twitter followers.
If the awards show did not advertise and introduce the categories of “Video of the Year” and “Artist of the Year,” they would be drastically different and, unfortunately, dramatically less noticed. So before you start kicking your feet about how Katy Perry, Eminem, Selena Gomez and PSY (yes, still) are getting a whole load of publicity, or you start tweeting your anger about the unfairness of the mainstream influence of the show, think about how influential these artists have been on the YouTuber’s nominated alongside them.
When Eminem began rapping, it seems a pretty safe bet to guess that he dreamt about performing alongside some of the biggest names in the music industry.
Sitting alongside the mainstream awards is the most exciting category of the 2013 YouTube Music Awards, “Innovation of the Year” – a category that homes the pioneering and exciting music of Bat for Lashes, DeStorm and Atoms for Peace.
It prides the intelligence of music and strives to boost its popularity – a concept that can be called innovative in itself.
Beside the award for innovation sits the “Response of the Year” award, a category that praises and publicizes the best parodies, covers and responses to an original track. Most notable in this category are ThePianoGuys – a five-guy musical ensemble, taking classic instrumental sounds and making them unforgettable.
The competition is tough, but most strikingly – it’s diverse. It’s universal.
Creating great work and uploading it to YouTube is not enough. If the 2013 YouTube Music Awards teaches us anything, it’s that social media dominates our music scene. And, finally, we have an award show to prove it.
Though the nominations and winners this year may not reach extensively outside of the mainstream, it will broaden knowledge about the power of YouTube. It shows us that music is about more than fame – a 17-year-old girl who one day began filming in her living room can win an award minutes after Lady Gaga or One Direction. Social media is diversifying the spectrum of music for the better, and the 2013 YouTube Music Awards are set to be just the beginning of great things.