YouTube Music Awards

YouTube Music Awards: The Fox is in the Henhouse

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 11:50am

This is a guest column by Jennifer Lane, first published at Audio4cast.

Speaking of seismic shifts, YouTube held it’s own music awards on Sunday, and if buzz factor is any measure of success (it is, of course), then it was a big one. Lots of people were talking about the awards, Produced by Spike Jonze, the awards were designed to be edgy, spontaneous, even strange – and definitely the opposite of the highly staged awards shows that we see on television.

By all accounts, it was a celebration of “the democratizing nature of YouTube”, with artists like Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis who became famous as a result of their hit song video on YouTube that they made for $5000 bucks with some friends. Even big record label made artist Taylor Swift got an award for her song “I knew your were trouble”, which incited more fan videos than any other.

Disruption folks, that’s the story that is being told live on YouTube, as evidenced by these awards. It’s not actually news, since YouTube’s been streaming more songs than any other platform in the land for a long time. YouTube is the place where the hip and trendy get their new music. Have you heard the song “What Does the Fox Say?” It’s a new phenom from YouTube that my daughter and her roommate played for me when we visited on parents’ weekend a few weeks ago. It’s a Norwegian viral video that’s got almost a billion views on YouTube since early September. Meanwhile, Katy Perry’s new album sold less than 300,000 copies in its first week. Not an apples to apples comparison, but certainly one that lends perspective.

If you haven’t watched these awards, and this YouTube culture thing is news to you, I highly recommend that you take a look. It’s a new world order, driven by platforms that put consumers in the drivers seat.

Meanwhile, according to Tom Taylor’s newsletter this morning, YouTube spent so much money on radio stations last week promoting its awards show that it was a top 20 advertiser….

YouTube continues search for new music identity with awards show

Monday, November 4, 2013 - 1:10pm

The YouTube Music Awards played last night with an anti-TV programming sensibility, to a small anti-TV audience. A reported peak concurrent audience of 220,000 individuals streamed the event. Total viewership finalized to 873,000 people, according to the live page. The thumbs up/down voting system registered 79 percent positive response.

The live audience represented less than one tenth of one percent of YouTube’s claimed 1-billion users.

YouTube is authoritatively rumored to be ramping up a music service that would formalize the platform’s unofficial status as the most-used online listening platform. Hosting a music awards spectacle makes sense in the double context of a music streaming site, and a social network. The relative lack of interest among users might reflect the futility of emulating old-media formats in new-media services. Despite the implications of YouTube’s name (a new kind of television “tube”), the platform’s core competency is facilitating and organizing user-uploaded content, not imitating TV shows.

Questions about the purported music service loom, the largest being how Google will add value to a platform which already has immense value built into it. (See RAIN’s analysis here.) YouTube’s runaway success has perhaps sent it running in directions unforeseen when Google acquired the thing in 2006. If the Music Awards show was a fun stab in the dark, well and good. But as a test of making YouTube something it is essentially not, the YouTube Music Awards didn’t seem to work. 

YouTube announces Music Awards nominees

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 9:15am

YouTube, which a music producer recently told RAIN is “the world’s biggest record label,” has announced its nominees for the upcoming YouTube Music Awards presentation.

The point here isn’t the nominated artists, but the often-disregarded reality that YouTube, ostensibly a watching platform, is a massively magnetic listening platform with an immense catalog. The upcoming awards seem to plant a stake in the ground that asserts what millions of young listeners already know -- that YouTube is a music-service gorilla in the room which surreptitiously competes with Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, Rdio, Slacker, and the other music-marketed platforms.

Anyway, the nominees are in, user voting will transpire according to a complex viral-sharing scheme described here, and the gala concert will take place on Nov. 3

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