4/20/2014

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Around the Sound

Macklemore and Ryan dubbed 'Breakthrough' at 1st YouTube Music Awards

Macklemore and Ryan dubbed 'Breakthrough' at 1st YouTube Music Awards
Seattle natives Macklemore and Ryan Lewis headlined day 1 at Sasquatch Music Festival. (KATU.com / Kai Hayashi)
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It wouldn't be an awards show in 2013 if Seattle hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis didn't walk away with at least on new accolade. 

The first YouTube Music Awards premiered on the video streaming website last night, and featured performances by big names like Arcade Fire, Eminem and M.I.A.. Six total awards were presented, including YouTube Breakthrough, which was given to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for their ultra-popular music videos for "Thrift Shop," "Same Love," and "Can't Hold Us."

The pair were nominated for a total of six awards. Other winners were Girl's Generation, Destorm, Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" (which was nominated as a single for its myriad creative covers), Eminem, and Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix. The show was co-hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts. Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry and PSY were all nominated but did not win. 

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis beat out rapper Kendrick Lamar and British folk rock group Passenger, whose video for "Let Her Go" has been viewed over 122,000,000 times.

Unlike conventional televised awards shows, the YouTube Music Awards selected nominees based on view counts and social sharing, and allowed users to vote for their favorite musicians and videos. The lack of scheduled commercial breaks and television restrictions also caused a few hiccups; the show was criticized for being slightly rambling and unfocused. Additionally, though only broadcast online, the performance did adhere to FCC standards, leading to sometimes-glitchy moments of excessive silence due to censorship. 

Show highlights included a heartfelt, stripped-down performance by Lady Gaga, who wore no makeup to the show, and Eminem's incredibly agile rendition of his new lyrical powerhouse, "Rap God." Still, the show was unable to net the kind of viewership that's come to be expected of televised awards showcases; according to Variety, only about 220,000 viewers were watching at the show's peak. 

YouTube, which was once thought of as a merely a repository for user-created content, has become a powerhouse in the entertainment industry. In the last two years, both Nielsen and Billboard have begun to count YouTube views when calculating ratings and popularity. 

Highlights and videos from the YouTube Music Awards are available on YouTube's channel

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