Girls’ Generation and Eminem among winners of the first YouTube Music Awards (videos)

4 Nov 2013

Still from 'I Got a Boy' YouTube music video by Girls' Generation

The inaugural YouTube Music Awards took place in New York City on Sunday, and K-pop and rap were the big winners in a show that put YouTube stars on the same stage as music royalty and was live-streamed around the world.

YouTube cemented its place as the new MTV with the announcement of its own Music Awards show last month and, since then, votes from fans for their shortlisted favourites have been counted and the awards doled out by the ceremony’s hosts, actor Jason Schwartzman and comedian and musician Reggie Watts.

With Spike Jonze at the helm as creative director, the show also included live performances from Arcade Fire, Avicii, Eminem and Lady Gaga, plus YouTube sensations Walk off the Earth and Lindsey Stirling. Four additional live-streamed events were also held in Seoul, Moscow, London and Rio, and you won’t find a better round-up of 2013 on YouTube than Adam Buxton’s for YTMA London.


The awards shortlist was based on a year’s worth of YouTube data from September 2012 and voting was live for one month based on social network shares of the official YTMA nominee videos.

These awards recognised breakthrough artists and innovations in YouTube video-making, as well as content specific to the network, such as video responses and viral hits.

Big winners on the night included rapper Eminem, who was named Artist of the Year, and K-pop group Girls’ Generation, who took home the Video of the Year prize. The nine-member girl group’s ‘I Got a Boy’ is a cartoonish visual feast featuring every fashion trend imaginable and haircuts that give even One Direction members a run for their money. In fact, Girls’ Generation fought off stiff competition from the fandoms of One Direction, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber for the award.

Unfortunately, ignorant fans of the losing acts lashed out at the South Korean award-winners with racist comments on Twitter and YouTubers AwesomenessTV reportedly made an offensive remark about ‘Chinese food’ in a video recap of the event that has since been removed.

YouTube Music Awards 2013 winners

Video of the Year: Girls’ Generation – ‘I Got a Boy’


Artist of the Year: Eminem


Response of the Year: Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix – ‘Radioactive’

This award recognised the best fan remix, cover or parody of a YouTube video, which, in this case, was violinist Lindsey Stirling’s cover of ‘Radioactive’ by Imagine Dragons with some help from Pentatonix.


YouTube Phenomenon: Taylor Swift – ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ 

This award shortlist included videos that inspired the most responses – the true viral sensations. Taylor Swift’s track prompted plenty of covers and parodies, but our favourite gave a very vocal animal a new platform.


YouTube Breakthrough: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were the fan favourite among the acts nominated based on their growth in views and subscribers over the past year.


Innovation of the Year: DeStorm – ‘See Me Standing’

DeStorm took home this award recognising the unique concepts of YouTube creators. The winning video was directed by Matei Dima and features Alexandra Govere.


Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.