YouTube Reinvents The Awards Show
Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts host the live YouTube Music Awards
It’s likely no one will remember who won Artist of the Year at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards (for the record, it was Eminem). But the prizes — shaped like the site’s iconic red “play” buttons — handed out on Nov. 3 by cohosts Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts were generally beside the point. The 90-minute ceremony, shown live on YouTube from a warehouse at New York’s Pier 36, looked to introduce a new approach to both awards shows and live performances. Creative director Spike Jonze helped performers like Eminem, Lady Gaga, and M.I.A. craft live music videos, an idea most successfully executed by Arcade Fire, who played “Afterlife” while actress Greta Gerwig interpretive-danced her way to catharsis. Whether this freewheeling version of an awards show will catch on remains to be seen, as the live broadcast attracted an estimated 220,000 viewers. (This year’s VMAs, by contrast, were seen by more than 10 million.) Still, several stand-alone videos did gain traction after the airing, which fits the spirit of the show: Forget trophies and rambling speeches — all hail page views!