November 3, 2013 marks the beginning of a new age in the history of Music. The first YouTube music awards will be held in New York and will be streamed live. There will also be cross overs to performances and musical collaborations from Seoul, Moscow, London and Rio. The Google owned company have enlisted Lady Gaga and Eminem as artists confirmed for the event.
Is this the changing of the guard for Music Video Awards – Move over MTV?
Launched in 1981, MTV revolutionized the music industry with it’s concept as a cable TV station dedicated to music videos. In 1984 MTV’s Music Video Awards (MVA’s) was launched and became the music industry event rivalled only by The Grammy Awards.
In the early 2000’s, reality TV started to take over MTV’s programming and the MTV brand had started to become less known for its music content and more for the reality shows. Over these years many music fans became critical and disillusioned with the programming change, and it was advances in the internet infrastructure, bandwidth and availability that gave birth to a new alternative for accessing music videos. Enter YouTube.
“YouTube has eclipsed radio as the way teens listen to music, according to Nielsen research”. as reported by the LA Times.
The question over the oncoming years is whether the YouTube awards will supersede MTV’s MVA’s in regards to prestige and recognition. YouTube has not only become the way most music videos are watched, but it has also been credited for catapulting international music careers for many music artists. With all of this in mind, it only seems logical for YouTube to branch out into music video awards. A key element to the awards is the creating of live music videos from the artists performing at the event, self feeding valuable content back into YouTube’s catalog, and possibly being another mega launchpad for new artists.
The High Definition Age of YouTube and the Vevo Partnership
It is only in recent years that YouTube has managed to match broadcast quality. This has proven to be success ingredient for this new music industry juggernaut.
In 2008 YouTube added the High Definition 720p support and changed it’s standard aspect ratio from 4:3 to widescreen 16:9. This became more palatable for cinematic look and feel, which was rapidly adapted by music video productions.
As high speed internet became cheaper and more available, the uptake of music video views exploded accordingly.
The relationship forged with Vevo was a match made in heaven as it opened up legitimate streaming of music from three of the “big four” major record labels: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI Records. With the fourth label, Warner choosing to side with MTV instead of Vevo, it looks like that the battlelines had already been drawn for the YouTube/MTV inevitable face off.
With artists like Justin Bieber breaking ground with YouTube success, it was a K-Pop (Korean Pop Music) artist Psy that hit the global mainstream in 2012 with thanks to YouTube. At the end of December 2012, Psy’s hit Gangnam Style became the first video to exceed 1 billion views.
In February the music industry’s premier music charts by Billboard magazine altered it’s charting calculations to take into account the number of views on YouTube. The announcement of YouTube’s awards is the icing on the cake for the online video platform securing it’s place in the future of the music industry.
Working out the YouTube Music Award Winners
Unlike other music awards where the voting results are tabulated under a shroud of mystery, the YouTube music awards will be judged by total number of views. Whilst this format may not be totally flawless (As it is frequent practice that views are bought), we can be rest assured that a company like Google (Owners of YouTube) will address the integrity of developing and refining the voting system. Google has a good track record of targeting and punishing websites with non genuine traffic with it’s infamous search algorithms updates.