MTV is pulling back the curtain—slightly—on the O Music Awards (OMAs), the network’s mystery-shrouded, Web-only awards show, which will be held on April 28.
Though the network still won’t say what the "O" stands for—that’s up to each viewer’s interpretation—it has revealed the inaugural OMA categories for fan voting, which kicks off today at www.omusicawards.com. The eclectic list of categories and nominees includes music artists like Lady Gaga and Kanye West, music services like Pandora—up for Best Music Discovery Service—and blogs like Gorilla vs. Bear (nominated for Best Independent Music Blog). Other categories include Best NSFW (not safe for work) Music Video, Fan Cover, Must Follow Artist on Twitter, and even Best Online Fan Army.
Though all the nominees are tied to music on the Web in some fashion, the OMAs aren’t focused on a single emerging art form, as the network’s Video Music Awards were when MTV rolled those out in the 1980s. But that’s not the point, argues Dermot McCormack, evp, digital media for MTV Music and Logo Group, who says the wide variety in the new awards show shouldn’t be seen as scattershot.
“We want to reinvent how award shows work,” said McCormack. “I’m sure it is going to be weird for some people. But this is about a confluence of events, and music as a category is at the center of this.”
As for what will happen as the awards are streamed on MTV.com, VH1.com and LogoTV.com on April 28—will there be an arena, a stage, music performances, comedy?—McCormack isn’t saying.
That’s less important, he argues, than trying to get users engaged online, something other awards shows talk about but rarely deliver on. “The OMAs are more about engaging audiences with a few tent pole events,” he said. “The main event is the conversations happening on the way up to, and then the day after, the event.”
MTV has signed three OMA sponsors: adidas, Ford and FUZE. Each brand will receive in-show integrations and will sponsor one or more awards during the show.