The first ever YouTube Music Awards kick off in just a few hours and the hype machine is in overdrive as the site prepares to live stream the event with performances and presentations from Moscow, Seoul, London, Rio and New York. The nominations, created from data on viewer comments, likes, views, subscriptions and shares include global artists such as Eminem and Katy Perry as well as home grown YouTube stars like Lindsey Stirling and Epic Rap Battles of History.

Award winning director Spike Jonze will shoot each of the main musical performances as if they were a music video and all footage will be made available after the live show. Both Jonze and YouTube have promised a certain amount of chaos – there’s no autocue in place for example – but the awards represent a huge opportunity for the site to show they can create the type of content once reserved for the big broadcasting networks. They need this to work, both in terms of audience engagement and industry recognition, to demonstrate that they are a serious contender, not only in the broadcast world, but in the music world too.

Danielle Tiedt, VP of Marketing at YouTube confirmed that live streaming the awards show was going to be a pivotal moment for the site:

Live is a huge part of the platform. It’s a big area of investment for us. Not all things make sense, but there are times where you want to be part of the water cooler moment. That has to be a big part of how we think about the future.

youtube music awards

The ten nominated artists of the year have nearly 10 Billion views between them for their official videos on YouTube. The data, from October 2012 to October 2013, confirms that over 75% of engagement on those viewers came from outside the U.S., which is why it makes total sense for YouTube to bring in that global audience.

artist of the year youtube music awards

The ten nominated artists for ‘Best Video of the Year’ have a combined 1.9 Billion views – that’s 500,000 views for every second of video. YouTube Trends confirmed the data for the nominated videos, albeit with a little adjustment to fit in all the info for Psy’s ‘Gentlemen’.

video of the year youtube music awards

The show starts at 6pm EST, from  Pier36, a 125,000 square foot space on the Lower East Side, Manhattan.