YouTube, underscoring the importance of music videos as a growth engine, has announced winners of the 2015 YouTube Music Awards, recognizing the site’s 50 biggest artists and musical acts including Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.
But the winners weren’t selected by fan votes per se, or by a cabal of industry insiders. Instead, the 2015 YouTube Music Award winners were selected based on growth in views, subscribers and engagement over the last six months on YouTube — in typical Google fashion, using a massive bucket of data.
The 50 honorees of the 2015 YouTube Music Awards include mainstream artists like Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Hozier, Ed Sheeran, Brad Paisley, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and One Direction, as well as YouTube-originated musical stars like Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling. Collectively, the 50 artists have more than 164 million subscribers and 47 billion video views to date.
Meanwhile, in another deviation from traditional awards shows — and unlike the inaugural 2013 YouTube Music Awards — this year’s “show” will not include a live ceremony.
Rather, the awards event, such as it is, will be essentially a one-day music takeover of the site, set for March 23, featuring original music videos produced by Vice Media to be released all at once on at 10 a.m. PT. Artists in the mix at this point include Cahoots, Charli XCX, Ed Sheeran, Martin Garrix, Max Schneider, Migos, Megan Nicole, Nicky Jam and Shamir.
The full list of honorees for the 2015 YouTube Music Awards are (in alphabetical order) 2NE1, Alt-J, Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Bigbang, Big Sean, Brad Paisley, Charlie XCX, Dej Loaf, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Ella Henderson, Fifth Harmony, FKA Twigs, Florida Georgia Line, George Ezra, Hoodie Allen, Hozier, Hunter Hayes, J. Cole, Jason Derulo, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar, Kiesza, Kurt Hugo Schneider, Lady Gaga, Lindsey Stirling, Martin Garrix, Max, Megan Nicole, Meghan Trainor, Miggs, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Nicky Jam, OK Go, One Direction, Pentatonix, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Sam Smith, Sia, Snoop Dogg, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Tinashe, Tori Kelly, Tove Lo, Troy Sivan and Tyler Ward.
The winners of the 2013 YouTube Music Awards were similarly selected by number of views, shares, likes, comments and subscriptions. The live 2013 YTMA show in New York, produced by Vice and directed by filmmaker Spike Jonze, was patterned after shows like the MTV Video Music Awards but was far less structured and polished.
Watch a promo video from YouTube for the 2015 music awards: