News

Eminem is first YouTube Music Awards artist of the year

Eminem is first YouTube Music Awards artist of the year

YOUTUBE WINNER: Eminem took home the site's first artist of the year award. Photo: Reuters/REUTERS/Jumana ElHeloueh

By Luciana Lopez

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The first-ever YouTube Music Awards on Sunday, improvised with plenty of celebrity cameos thrown into the mix, saw awards going to rapper Eminem and hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

The show made a clear bid for the quirky, a benefit of being streamed by YouTube rather than broadcast on television.

If the music itself sometimes felt a little overshadowed by all the hoopla, it shouldn’t surprise. The show was also a sort of announcement by YouTube of its intentions to take a bigger role in the music industry.

The music awards market is almost as crowded as the music market. YouTube featured big stars such as Lady Gaga to attract attention, while keeping enough of an outsider perspective to differentiate itself from MTV, the Grammys and other music powerhouses.

Although the Google-owned site has for years been a go-to place for music fans around the world, the site is now expected to introduce a paid music service by year-end.

“There was nothing scripted tonight,” said actor Jason Schwartzman, who, along with performance artist Reggie Watts, hosted the show, which was directed by Spike Jonze.

Eminem won the Artist of the Year award. Video of the Year was awarded to Girls’ Generation, who are megastars in South Korea but are still making inroads into the U.S. music scene.

Breakthrough of the Year went to hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, whose songs include the gay rights anthem, “Same Love.”

Walk off the Earth, along with KRNFX, took the Phenomenon Award for their version of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” while the Innovation Prize went to DeStorm, who won for “See Me Standing.”

And in an acknowledgement of the hefty amount of user-generated content that goes on YouTube – everything from yawning kittens to cellphone video of major world news – YouTube gave out something called Response of the Year.

That prize went to Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix, for their cover of Imagine Dragons “Radioactive.” Stirling is a star among violinists – but not have the star power of Katy Perry, another of the night’s nominees.

LADY GAGA, CULTURAL REFERENCES

Along with Gaga there was a shaky-cam performance by Tyler, the Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt, both of the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All hip-hop collective.

There were cultural references, including the quirky song “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” from Norwegian duo Ylvis, a viral hit earlier this year.

YouTube has positioned itself in recent years as a major source of new music videos for fans.

Sites such as YouTube effectively function as on-demand stations for music, with fans able to listen to play lists over and over just for watching the occasional commercial.

The shift highlights some of the challenges – and opportunities – for artists. Access to music is easier than it’s ever been, thanks to sites such as YouTube, music blogs, file-sharing software and more. But it’s also become that much more difficult for musicians to earn a living.

YouTube is expected to introduce an option by the end of the year to let music fans skip the commercials via a paid subscription service. This would pit YouTube directly against services such as the online music streaming Web service Spotify, whose business model has been criticized by musicians for squeezing artists.

Recent News

13 hours ago in Music

This week’s top rock tracks

fivefingerdeathpunch

LISTEN: This week's top rock songs, according to the latest Billboard chart.

1 day ago in Entertainment

Bill Murray tosses fans’ phones off rooftop

billmurray

The "Ghostbusters" star was unwinding at rooftop restaurant in California on Thursday when he spotted two starstruck fans trying to snap his photo.

1 day ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Deadpool,’ ‘Zoolander 2’ to battle at the box office

15-overlay-6

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

1 day ago in Entertainment, National

Roses and roaches: Cold-hearted Valentine’s Day ideas

valentines

With the coldest air in more than a decade forecast to grip the United States this Valentine's Day weekend, the holiday dedicated to love is flashing its frigid side.

2 days ago in Music, Entertainment

Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration in the works

woodstock

Organizers of the original Woodstock festival are trying to get something together to mark the golden anniversary of the event in 2019.