Clockwise from top left: Spike Jonze, Eminem, Lady Gaga and Jason Schwartzman YouTube is getting into the music awards game. The popular online video giant is launching its first YouTube Music Awards, an ambitious 90-minute effort that will take place live in New York City’s Pier 36 on Nov. 3, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Filmmaker Spike Jonze, who has directed music videos for Beastie Boys and Weezer, has been tapped as creative director, while Jason Schwartzman will host the 90-minute event, presented in partnership with Kia and live-streamed across the world.
Top-tier talent like Eminem, Lady Gaga and indie favorite Arcade Fire are on the bill as performers, along with YouTube breakouts Lindsey Stirling and CDZA.
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“We’re setting out to create a night that’s all about making things and creativity in the spirit of everyone that uses YouTube,” said Jonze. “As well as giving out awards, we’ll be making live music videos. The whole night should feel like a YouTube video itself. We’re getting together a group of amazing artists and filmmakers to do this live — tune in to see what happens live.”
“From catalyzing careers and pop culture phenomena to propelling a song’s rise to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, our global community’s influence is felt across the music industry,” added Danielle Tiedt, YouTube’s vp marketing.
Leading into the awards show, YouTube will feature performances from Seoul, Moscow, London and a location in Brazil. Artists who will be performing internationally have yet to be announced.
The YouTube Music Awards will celebrate the artists and songs that YouTube users have turned into global hits in the past year.
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Nominations for the YouTube Music Awards will be announced Oct. 17, based on the videos that the users watched and shared in the the past year. Categories have not yet been announced, but data-driven categories such as fastest-growing song are expected.
Judging will take place as YouTube users determine the songs and artists who will be honored by sharing the content through social media.
Vice Media and Sunset Lane are executive producing.
Jonze’s collaboration with YouTube comes at an opportune time, as his sci-fi romance Her — which world premieres at the New York Film Festival — opens theatrically Dec. 18. Schwartzman stars in the Tom Hanks-led Captain Phillips, opening five days earlier Dec. 13.
Eminem’s eighth full-length, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, hits stores two days after his scheduled YouTube Music Awards performance Nov. 5. Lady Gaga’s Artpop drops Nov. 11, while Arcade Fire’s third studio album, Reflektor, hits Oct. 29.
YouTube has been aggressive in its initiatives in the past year. In August, the company kicked off Geek Week, dedicating several days to geek-centric programming, and in May, launched its first star-studded Comedy Week.
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