Confused by the Youtube Music Awards

Dear Readers,

When I think of Youtube and music, I think of the homegrown Youtube superstars who made thriving careers for themselves from sheer talent, star appeal, and an Internet connection. Julia Nunes, Boyce Avenue, Pomplamoose, Marie Digby, and many more musicians have made the video- sharing platform a living, breathing, and exciting part of our Internet culture.

When I first heard about the Youtube Music Awards, I was downright ecstatic. For years, we’ve been discovering our new favorite artists on the site, and thus, have taken control of our musical destinies. The power shifted from the corporations to the listeners.

Now however, it seems like the power is shifting back, at least in regards to this awards show.

As I was doing my part and voting for my favorites, I was extremely puzzled by the list of nominees.  From Taylor Swift to Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj to Drake, and Eminem to Miley Cyrus, 95% of the nominees are major label acts. These are the same acts we would see at the now irrelevant MTV Video Music Awards. They’ve just done a platform jump from our television screens to our computer screens and mobile devices.

Sure, Youtube threw a bone to a few of their stars like Boyce Avenue and Lindsey Stirling, but only in the Response of the Year Category. It’s these homegrown Youtube stars that made the site what it is today. Youtube is clearly losing touch.

One might argue that the fans have the power and will decide who wins, but it’s like choosing between McDonald’s and Burger King. If you really wanted the people to have the power, you would have given them the ability to decide on the nominees as well the overall winners.

I have nothing against the major label artists who made the cut. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a great pop song and quite a few gems have been nominated. However, moving forward, there should be more even distribution between mainstream artists and the self- made Youtube stars.

Perhaps more categories can be introduced to reflect a wider range of content creators or maybe Youtube could allow fans to choose the video nominees in addition to the overall winners. One thing’s for certain, if this awards show is going to really capture the imagination of its core audience and have longevity, it needs to embrace what made Youtube so great in the first place- fan power over corporate might.

What do you think of the current format of the Youtube Music Awards? Feel free to comment below and let’s get a dialogue going.

-Jennifer Logue
Founder & Editor
Rock On Philly

2 Comments

  1. Samantha S.

    July 10, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I completely agree. YouTube, from its inception, is and has been a video-sharing website, primarily for amateurs with video cameras, talking, singing, performing idiotic stunts and sharing bootleg entertainment. Like you said, YouTube needs to show its appreciation to those YouTube-grown acts in lieu of the big label acts in the same categories.

    Because then, what would be the point of writing and performing your own music if the website you’re posting to does not even recognize it?

  2. Lauren S

    July 14, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    It’s sad to see a once-grassroots movement become corporatized. I guess YouTube could only remain independent for so long; once Vevo came on the scene and every video featured a commercial before it, I knew YouTube as we knew it was over. However, like you mention, YouTube needs to highlight those stars who made the channel what it is today.

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