This past weekend the world got to witness the first ever YouTube Music Awards. Yes, internet giant Google has decided to make a move into the awards show arena now as well… except this one you watch on your computer. Some people questioned why Google would do such a thing, but it seems to make sense since music videos are rarely watched on television channels like MTV or Much Music anymore in favour of watching them on-demand online. And the main site that people choose to watch music videos on now is, of course, YouTube.
The show was hosted by two comedians slash musicians, Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts. According to reports, the show was a giant ball of chaos. But the internet culture that it was aimed at was more than used to it, and even seemed to love it. Like other award shows, the YouTube Music Awards did actually give away awards and featured performances from some of today’s hottest artists, which they dubbed “live music videos.”
Not sure what a live music video is? Neither was I until I watched The Arcade Fire’s performance (which was directed by Spike Jonze who has directed music videos for Weezer, Kanye West, The Beastie Boys and movies like the cult favourite Being John Malcovich). The performance was a mix of what we traditionally think of as a music video and the band’s live performance. Check out this video for yourself:
As I said earlier, this new award show really seemed to appeal to people. We took to MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to see just what kind of a stir the YouTube Music Awards created in the social media realm.
Over the course of the weekend YouTube was seeding content to help promote the award show which broadcasted live on Sunday night from New York City. Looking at mentions of the show from Friday through Monday I found that it came up in over 3.7 million pieces of social content. The YouTube Music Awards was mentioned in 2,941 blog posts, 4,724 online news articles, 287 forum postings and 3,721,051 tweets.
Looking at those mentions plotted out over time, I found that Twitter, which drove the main chunk of conversations about the award show peaked as people used Twitter to follow the action and talk with one another about what was going on on Sunday night.
On Sunday alone, the YouTube Music Awards appeared in 2.3 million tweets. That’s equal to 96,418 tweets per hour over the day about the show. Interestingly, it appeared that women were more interested in the award show than men as they contributed 61% of the conversation over the men’s 39%.
When I removed tweets from the popularity chart above, I found something very interesting. Above we saw that Twitter drove the main part of the conversation around the YouTube Music Awards and saw it’s greatest amount of tweets during the actual broadcast of the show. However, when we can see other social channels, like blogs and online news, we can see that they actually peaked yesterday, the day after the show. This seems to prove the theory that Twitter drives real-time conversations around events as they actually happen, but longer form mediums like blogs and online news seem better suited for write-ups and reviews after the actual events have taken place.
While the show was based in North America and was broadcast for the Eastern Standard Time, it didn’t stop people from all over the world from watching and joining in on the conversation. The United States did lead the way in conversations about the YouTube Music awards, owning 29.1% of the mentions, but so many other countries were in on the action as well. This makes sense as YouTube is the second most used search engine in the entire world (next to it’s parent company Google). The pie chart below shows where mentions of the award show came from across all social channels, while the heat map plots out where tweets about the show were originating from (which were mainly using the show’s official hashtag, #YTMA).
And just were all these music fans from around the globe talking about? A look at some of our text analytics shows that the celebrities seemed to be the big draw. In the word cloud and buzzgraph below we can see that names of the hosts, “Reggie” “Watts” and “Jason” “Schwartzman” appeared quite often. Along with them were the performers, like “Lady” “Gaga,” “Arcade” “Fire” and “Eminem” (who also won the award for Artist of the Year). And, of course, the night’s winners, such as “Macklemore,” “Pentatonix” and winners of Video of the Year, “Girls'” “Generation” (a 9 member group of Korean women who perform in the popular style of “K-Pop”).
Despite what critics seemed to say after the show was done about the chaos that doesn’t seem to happen at traditional award shows, the audience the show was intended for seemed to love it. A look at the sentiment around the YouTube Music Awards shows a 92% favourable rating. Only 8% of all the 3.7 million conversations were classified as negative, while a whopping 32% were positive.
Finally, just because not everyone around the world is familiar with the K-Pop phenomenon that is starting to spread from Korea, I present to you the first ever YouTube Music Awards Video of the Year winner, Girls’ Generation’s I Got A Boy: