The moment is fast approaching, when video-streaming platform YouTube will go the way of television networks and music associations alike, and launch their very own awards show.
Sunday night's live-streamed YouTube Music Awards will take place at New York’s pier 36, and the list of celebrities guesting the stage include everyone from Katy Perry to Tyler the Creator to Arcade Fire. Nominees for the inaugural set of awards were announced last week-- only six categories in total -- ranging from Artist of the Year to Phenomenon of the Year. While the modest approach indicates that they are rolling out an event that should be taken seriously, critics have argued that YouTube failed to capitalize on the wide variety of content that lives on the site, despite the fact that Epic Rap Battles Of History is honored more than once.
Online Growth for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis across Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia
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(CHART COURTESY OF NEXT BIG SOUND)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who led the pack in nominations with a nod in four out of six categories, clearly had a good year. The Seattle-based rapper and producer team took the music industry by storm in 2012, with the release of “The Heist,” and have seen their online fan base grow exponentially. The pair now count a total of more than 3.2 million Facebook page likes, and more than 2.8 million of these added since Oct. 1 2012 to Oct. 1 2013. In that time, their Twitter following increased by close to 1.7 million, and they saw nearly 15 million Wikipedia page views -- a staggering increase of 247,000%.
As for overall YouTube video views, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis do not top the list in comparison to fellow Artist of the Year nominees, but do see the highest percentage increase at a bump of more than 5,000% percent compared to the year before. The top spot unsurprisingly goes to PSY, who counts close to 2.5 billion views in that time period. Runner-up Justin Bieber saw north of 1 billon. Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Katy Perry all have a significantly lower number of views, given that their official channels are all hosted by partner channel Vevo, but are still considered to be in the running.
Using YouTube detections to rank the top played tracks on the site this year, only a few of the nominees from the Video of the Year category actually make the top ten, namely Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop feat. Wanz,” Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” and PSY’s “Gentleman.” According to this list, Ylvis’ “The Fox” and AWOLNATION’s “Sail,” who were not nominated might also have merited a nod.
(CHART COURTESY NEXT BIG SOUND)
The candidates for Response of The Year are a list of well-known YouTube celebrities, who have made a name for themselves through the platform. Most, if not all of the nominees, have subscriber counts in the millions, higher numbers in fact than most of the artists nominated for Artist of the Year. At close to 3.5 million in total, Violinist Lindsey Stirling has six-fold the number of subscribers that Katy Perry can boast (see chart above).
As for artists who might have been snubbed, Ariana Grande, Drake and Imagine Dragons all have tracks with a high number of detections, but are nowhere to be found on the list.
The choices for the Most Innovative category are far less mainstream, from Bat For Lashes to Toro Y Moi. The artists behind these videos have fan bases on Facebook between 50,000 and 300,000 page likes, versus the millions that artists in previous categories can boast. Only one of these videos, Atoms For Peace’s “Ingenue,” has seen view counts in the millions on YouTube. The criteria behind the nominations are slightly different in this instance, and reflect a more subjective aesthetic evaluation.
Despite the small number of awards to be handed out Sunday night, and the potential for much more creative categories such as best goat video or top shake setting, YouTube has put together a night that will have a little bit for everyone.