2015 YouTube Music Awards Showcase Independent Artists

After mixed reviews for the first YouTube Music Awards, the 2015 awards focused on YouTube's native talent with a playlist featuring new videos, produced by Vice Media.

It’s been two years since the first annual YouTube music awards. Late last year, Variety reported that this year’s show would be different than the standard awards show, and it certainly was unconventional.

The winners were picked by big data, and some of the honored artists released new music videos to coincide with the event.

Unlike the 2013 awards show, this year’s awards had no live streamed component. The show, which is really just a playlist, was presented by vlogger and YouTube celebrity Tyler Oakley. 13 independent artists, including FKA Twigs and Lindsey Stirling, worked with Vice Media to create music videos, all of which went live on Monday as part of the show.

YouTube also honored bigger stars, like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Rihanna, but the 50 winning artists were picked algorithmically based on their growth in subscribers, views, and engagement over the last six months, according to Variety.

The show was largely devoid of videos of the bigger artists, focusing instead on smaller artists. In fact, YouTube has made a concerted effort to focus on its native talent either through exclusivity contracts or direct project funding.

The focus on the native creative talent may be another way to draw users into the recently launched YouTube Music Key Service. The videos shown demonstrate the high quality of music content that available on YouTube, and could attract users looking for a music-first ad free experience.

Much like the previous YouTube music awards, YouTube’s commenters seem confused and enraged, but that’s par for the course in the YouTube comments section. Many of the videos have received unfavorable responses, while others surpassed 200,000 views.