YouTube is rolling out the red carpet for its first music awards show.
The video platform has recruited Lady Gaga, Eminem and Acarde Fire to perform at the inaugural event, scheduled for Nov. 3. Spike Jonze, who directed “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” along with numerous music videos, has also signed on to be the award show’s creative director. Actor Jason Schwartzman, who was a songwriter prior to launching his film career with “Rushmore,” “Slackers” and “I Heart Huckabees,” will host.
The show will present winners for six award categories, to be announced in October, based entirely from viewer votes. The 90-minute live event, backed by Kia Motors as the title sponsor, will take place at Pier 36 in New York, said YouTube’s vice president of marketing, Danielle Tiedt.
“We’re trying to create live videos during the award shows so that the experience becomes more about creating than presenting,” Tiedt said in an interview. “Music is our bread and butter and our heart and soul here at YouTube. Our main goal is to not just do another award show. We wanted to do something special.”
As a category, music has been among the largest on YouTube, Tiedt said, although she declined to quantify the number of views that music videos generate.
Jonze told Billboard he was intrigued by the challenge of producing an “unconventional” awards show.
“I want to find out if we can make a whole night just about making things,” Jonze said. “Instead of just doing performances, can we do live collaborations?”
Neither Jonze nor YouTube would tip their hand about how they plan to make their awards show more engaging than, say, The Grammys.
In terms of ratings, the show’s performance will not be measured by how many people tune in to the live event. “In general, 90% of all views for live events happen after the event itself,” Tiedt said. “The live event is a way to get people talking. Afterwards, it gets shared and shared.”
Asked whether 90 minutes may be long for a YouTube video, Jonze replied, “There are no rules. Why does there have to be rules? It’s the Internet.”