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YouTube Music Awards to Return in 2015, But Not as a Live Event

Vidsite pacts with Vice Media to produce original music videos to debut in March 2015

YouTube, as part of its stepped-up push into the music biz, will bring back the YouTube Music Awards next March and has renewed a pact with Vice Media to produce it.

However, unlike the first go-round last year, the 2015 YouTube Music Awards won’t be a live-streamed event — it’s essentially a one-day music takeover of the site in late March, featuring original videos produced by Vice.

The vidsite’s inaugural YouTube Music Awards last year in New York was patterned after shows like the MTV Video Music Awards, to highlight major stars and up-and-coming musicians on YouTube.

The 2013 show, directed by filmmaker Spike Jonze and executive produced by Vice and Sunset Lane Entertainment, featured performances by Eminem, Lady Gaga, Avicii, Arcade Fire and others. The Nov. 3, 2013, livestream of the show — a largely improvised and somewhat awkward production — drew a peak audience of around 220,000 viewers, but the on-demand archive of the kudocast has since been viewed more than 54 million times.

The Internet-video giant is reprising the YouTube Music Awards following the launch this month of YouTube Music Key, an advertising-free subscription service that offers offline video viewing and other features, with access to more than 30 million songs via Google Play Music. It’s currently in an invitation-only beta phase, with select users able to try it out for six months free, after which YouTube will open it up at a promo price of $7.99 per month.

Last year’s awards were based on fans voting by sharing and liking videos of their favorite artists. The 2015 YouTube Music Awards winners will be selected based on total user activity, with awards being handed out (virtually) in various categories. The video site has launched a new channel for the awards, at youtube.com/musicawards, which in the next week will feature new videos from artists including GD X TAEYANG and Megan Nicole.

The 2015 YouTube Music Awards will again be sponsored by Kia Motors.

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