Lady Gaga and Odd Future rapper Tyler, the Creator lead MTV’s newly inaugurated O Music Awards with three nominations each.
MTV announced Tuesday the categories and nominees for its new web-based awards show, a celebration of digital music. Categories include best fan cover, most viral dance and best music hashtag meme.
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Lady Gaga and Tyler, the Creator are among the nominees for most innovative artist and must-follow artist on Twitter. Lady Gaga is also nominated for favorite animated GIF, a kind of avatar. Tyler the Creator, of the much buzzed-about hip-hop group Odd Future, is also nominated for his remix of Lykke Li’s “Follow Rivers.”
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Winners will be decided by fan voting in social media, with the results shown in real-time. The awards will be presented in a live hour-long webcast April 28 on MTV websites and mobile apps.
MTV, which is part of the Viacom-owned MTV Networks, hopes the show will do for digital music what its Video Music Awards, launched in 1984, did for the music video. As a reference to the rapidly shifting online world, even the “O” in the OMAs is being left undefined and open to interpretation by viewers.
“Some elements of this will be experimental,” said Dermot McCormack, head of digital media at MTV Music Group. “If there is such a thing as a beta award show, this is it.”
Several of the awards will go to fans or even pets. Best animal performance is a category, with nominees like a parrot dancing to Willow Smith’s song “Whip My Hair.”
Other categories fete the new epicenters of online music, such as best independent music blog, best music discovery service and best performance series. The latter features a group of nominees that pits acclaimed online series like NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts” and La Blogotheque’s “Take Away Shows” against MTV’s own “Unplugged.”
“We’re really launching a new franchise here, something that we’re investing in,” says Shannon Connolly, vice president of digital music strategy for MTV Music Group.
Other nominated artists include Kanye West, the Flaming Lips, Nicki Minaj, Arcade Fire and Justin Bieber. Among the non-artist nominees are the comedy site Funny or Die, the music discovery service Pandora and Andy Samberg’s comedy troupe, the Lonely Island.
The network says success for the O Music Awards won’t be assessed by ratings or view counts, but by its cultural influence.
“We won’t be judging by how many streams we do on several websites,” says McCormack. “We will be judging it by how much we can affect the conversation around digital music in the lead-up and beyond.”