YouTube to Host Live Music Awards Show, Twerking Not Necessarily Included

Kia Will Sponsor the Livestreamed Event

By Published on .

MTV has already ceded the music video domain to YouTube. Now the Google-owned video service is crown the achievement with its own version of the VMAs.

The inaugural YouTube Music Awards will take place on November 3 and livestream globally starting at 6 pm ET. Kia has signed on as the exclusive title sponsor for the 90-minute event that will only be available for viewing on the Google-owned video service.

YouTube will hand out awards in six categories during the live event to be hosted at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side of New York City. Artists will be nominated based on YouTube data such as views, likes and shares of videos for those artists' songs. After nominees and award categories are announced in mid-October, people will be able to vote for who they want to win until the November 3 show.

Potential nominee Miley Cyrus
Potential nominee Miley Cyrus

Like MTV's Video Music Awards, the YouTube Music Awards will be both celebration and concert. "We're not just handing out awards," said YouTube VP-marketing Danielle Tiedt.

Artists to perform include Lady Gaga and Eminem; performances will be broadcast from London, Moscow, Seoul and a to-be-determined city in Brazil. Filmmaker Spike Jonze, who directed "Where the Wild Things Are" and the music video for Beastie Boys song "Sabotage," is helming the show as creative director.

The show is "a logical next step for us in how we support artists and bands on [YouTube] and how we showcase what YouTube's part is in the music ecosystem," Ms. Tiedt said.

YouTube had been discussing putting on a music awards show "for a couple years" before deciding to organize the event this year, Ms. Tiedt said. That is to say, YouTube isn't just hopping on the twerking bandwagon following Miley Cyrus's performance at this year's VMAs that spawned more than 203 million related video views on YouTube. "I think twerking will not be at the YouTube Music Awards, although never say never," said Ms. Tiedt. Ms. Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" music video has notched more than 173 million views on YouTube, making it a prime candidate.

Kia's branding will also be in attendance. As part of the auto maker's sponsorship deal, the event is officially titled "YouTube Music Awards Presented by Kia," and the brand will be featured throughout the show. Ms. Tiedt declined to comment on how much money Kia spent for the sponsorship and how much YouTube is spending for the event.

YouTube will promote the awards show on its homepage and feature it on the best-of YouTube Spotlight channel that had previously hosted videos from YouTube's Geek Week and Comedy Week.

The show will be available to watch on YouTube after the November 3 livestream, and YouTube will be running prerolls video ads and display ads against that on-demand video. Those spots will be sold by Google/YouTube's sales team, but advertisers will also be able to bid for them through Google's advertising auctions, Ms. Tiedt said.

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