2013 YouTube Music Awards
YouTube Music Awards (2013-2015).png
Sponsored byKia
DateSunday, November 3, 2013
LocationPier 36, New York City
Hosted byJason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts
Television/radio coverage

The 2013 YouTube Music Awards, abbreviated as the YTMA, was the inaugural music award show presented by YouTube. The inaugural award show was held on November 3, 2013, streamed live from Pier 36 in New York City, with additional shows in Seoul, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, and London.

Unlike other award shows, the winners were entirely voted on by fans.[1] The show was directed by Spike Jonze.[2]

"None of us have done anything live before or an awards show – in a way we're all like amateurs on YouTube ourselves, making our first video. So even if it's messy, it'll be live," Jonze admitted to Billboard.com.[3]

Announcement and promotion

On September 30, 2013, YouTube uploaded Announcing the first-ever YouTube Music Awards, on its own channel.[4] The video revealed that the award show would be presented by Kia.[4] Several of the nominees, such as Epic Rap Battles of History and Eminem promoted their videos, in hopes they would win.[5][6] Innovation of the Year nominee, DeStorm Power, also made a video asking his fans to vote for him stating,

"Let's bring one home, and keep it in the family,"

referring to the fact that he is considered a homegrown YouTube musician.[7] Kia served as the event's main sponsor.[8]

Live performances & streaming

The award show featured live performances in the form of music videos from music industry stars such as Lady Gaga, Eminem, Arcade Fire, and Avicii.[9][10] The award show was live streamed on YouTube's official channel.[11]

Artist Song Director(s)
Arcade Fire "Afterlife" Spike Jonze
Walk off the Earth
"Abridged History of YouTube Music" medley
  1. "Here It Goes Again" - OK Go
  2. "Chocolate Rain" (feat. Tay Zonday)
  3. "Single Ladies" - Beyoncé
  4. "Born This Way" - Lady Gaga
  5. "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett and GoonRock
  6. "Bed Intruder Song" - Antoine Dodson & The Gregory Brothers ft. Kelly Dodson
  7. "I'm On A Boat" - The Lonely Island ft. T-Pain (feat. T-Pain)

with Walk of the Earth:

  1. "Somebody That I Used to Know" - Gotye ft. Kimbra
  2. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen
  3. "Friday" - Rebecca Black
  4. "TiK ToK" - Kesha
  5. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz
  6. "Gangnam Style" - PSY
  1. "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" - Ylvis
Joe Sabia (creator)
Lady Gaga "Dope" Spike Jonze
Chris Milk
Earl Sweatshirt
Tyler, the Creator
"Sasquatch" Wolf Haley (creator)
Lindsey Stirling "Crystallize" Ray Tintori (creator)
Avicii "Hey Brother"
"You Make Me"
"Wake Me Up"
Spike Jonze
Chris Milk
Lena Dunham (writer)
M.I.A. "Come Walk With Me" Fafi [fr] (creator)
Eminem "Rap God" Syndrome (creator)


On Monday, October 21, 2013, YouTube announced the nominees for the six categories of its inaugural music award show.[12] The nominees are based on video views, likes, comments, and subscriptions since September 2012.[13] However, YouTube has not yet published the final stats results on the votes. Girls' Generation won the Video of the Year with "I Got a Boy".

Video of the Year

Video of the Year recognizes the video with most fan engagement based on views, likes, shares, and comments.

Video Girls' Generation — "I Got a Boy"

Artist of the Year

Artist of the Year recognizes the most watched, shared, liked, and subscribed-to artists.

Eminem won Artist of the Year, and performed "Rap God" to close the award show.
Eminem won Artist of the Year, and performed "Rap God" to close the award show.

Winner Eminem

Response of the Year

Response of the Year recognizes the best fan remixes, covers or parodies, based on views, likes, shares, and comments.

Lindsey Stirling, along with Pentatonix won Response of the Year.

Video Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix – "Radioactive"

YouTube Phenomenon

Recognizing the songs that generated the most fan videos.

Lostprophets' "I Knew You Were Trouble" won YouTube Phenomenon
Lostprophets' "I Knew You Were Trouble" won YouTube Phenomenon

Winner "I Knew You Were Trouble"

YouTube Breakthrough

Recognizing the artists with the greatest growth in views and subscribers.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won YouTube Breakthrough
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won YouTube Breakthrough

Winner Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Innovation of the Year

Innovation of the Year recognizes creative video innovations with the most views, likes, shares and comments.

DeStorm Power, winner of Innovation of the Year
DeStorm Power, winner of Innovation of the Year

Video DeStorm – "See Me Standing"


The show was documented for being unusual compared to other award shows, as well as having moments of awkward pauses and brief technical difficulties.[14] Eminem's victory of Artist of the Year was, perhaps, the pinnacle of the feeling that the YouTube Music Awards' nominees were puzzling.[15] This is because a frequent criticism was that being the YouTube Music Awards, homegrown YouTube musicians should have been more frequently nominated than they were.[15][16] The Los Angeles Times stated,

"He is hardly a YouTube sensation in the traditional sense. He's more of an MTV kind of guy. Shouldn't YouTube try harder to honor its own?",

referring to Eminem and his victory at the YTMAs.[15]

Attendee and performer Tyler, the Creator, was also critical of the awards, noting the mainstream artist presence rather than independent YouTube musicians.[17]

Yahoo! News stated,

"The 90-minute affair may have split the Internet audience down the middle, judging by comments posted on Twitter, in which some people complained of censorship, when the show's live stream stopped several times."[18]

YouTube disabling comments on the video of the award show was also heavily criticized by fans.[19][20]

Additionally, Girls' Generation, the Video of the Year's winner, received a considerable amount of negative backlash on Twitter from fans of the other candidates.[21] Another winner, DeStorm, had his name mispronounced by hosts as he accepted his award. This was used as an example in a common criticism of the ceremony, which was that YouTube pushed its own content creators aside in favor of more traditional celebrities.[22]


  1. ^ Hughes, Hilary (November 3, 2013). "YouTube Music Awards: Streaming of consciousness?". USA Today. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  2. ^ Weisman, Aly (November 3, 2013). "Watch The First Ever YouTube Music Awards Live-Streaming Now". Business Insider. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  3. ^ Hampp, Andrew (November 1, 2013). "YouTube Music Awards Director Spike Jonze Says 'Even If It's Messy, It'll Be Live'". Billboard. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Announcing the first-ever YouTube Music Awards". YouTube. September 30, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  5. ^ "A Special Announcement from ERB". Epic Rap Battles of History. YouTube. October 26, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  6. ^ Mathers, Marshall (October 24, 2013). "Eminem YTMA Artist of the Year Tweet". Twitter. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  7. ^ Power, DeStorm (October 31, 2013). "YouTube Music Awards! I'm nominated!!! (Let's win this!)". DeStorm Power. YouTube. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  8. ^ "Kia to be Presenting Sponsor of inaugural YouTube Music Awards". Kia. October 1, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  9. ^ Gruttadaro, Andrew (November 3, 2013). "2013 YouTube Music Awards Live Stream — Watch The Show Online". Hollywood Life. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  10. ^ Kennedy, Gerrick D. (November 3, 2013). "Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Live Now: YouTube Music Awards (YTMA)". YouTube. November 3, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  12. ^ "Calling All Music Fans: YouTube Music Award Voting Opens Today". YouTube Official Blog. Blogspot. October 21, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  13. ^ Michalski, Jennifer (October 22, 2013). "Here Are The Nominations For YouTube's First Music Awards". Business Insider. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  14. ^ Talbott, Chris (November 3, 2013). "Eminem, Swift Top Weird YouTube Music Awards". The Big Story. Associated Press. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c Gelt, Jessica (November 3, 2013). "YouTube Music Awards: Eminem wins Artist of the Year ... wait, what?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  16. ^ Clem, JB (November 2, 2013). "COME ON MAN! Ylvis The Fox Not Nominated as a Youtube Phenomenon at 2013 Youtube Music Awards?". JB Clem. YouTube. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  17. ^ "Revolt TV News | Tyler, the Creator Disses YouTube Music Awards On Red Carpet". News.revolt.tv. November 4, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-07. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  18. ^ Milfeld, Becca (November 3, 2013). "Eminem takes top honor at YouTube music awards". Yahoo! News. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  19. ^ Cohen, Joshua (November 4, 2013). "Why Did YouTube Disable Comments On The Live Stream Of Its Music Awards?". Tubefilter. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  20. ^ Peterson, Tim (November 4, 2013). "YouTube Music Awards Drew Thousands, Not Millions, of Views". Ad Age. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  21. ^ Peterson, Jacques. "Girls' Generation Wins Big At YouTube Music Awards, Racist Tweets From Losing Fandoms Follow".
  22. ^ Gutelle, Sam (November 4, 2013). "The YouTube Music Awards Were Weird, And That's A Problem". Tubefilter. Retrieved November 10, 2013.