By Luciana Lopez
NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The first-ever YouTube MusicAwards on Sunday, improvised with plenty of celebrity cameosthrown into the mix, saw awards going to rapper Eminem andhip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
The show made a clear bid for the quirky, a benefit of beingstreamed by YouTube rather than broadcast on television.
If the music itself sometimes felt a little overshadowed byall the hoopla, it shouldn't surprise. The show was also a sortof announcement by YouTube of its intentions to take a biggerrole in the music industry.
The music awards market is almost as crowded as the musicmarket. YouTube featured big stars such as Lady Gaga to attractattention, while keeping enough of an outsider perspective todifferentiate itself from MTV, the Grammys and other musicpowerhouses.
Although the Google-owned site has for years been ago-to place for music fans around the world, the site is nowexpected to introduce a paid music service by year-end.
"There was nothing scripted tonight," said actor JasonSchwartzman, who, along with performance artist Reggie Watts,hosted the show, which was directed by Spike Jonze.
Eminem won the Artist of the Year award. Video of the Yearwas awarded to Girls' Generation, who are megastars in SouthKorea but are still making inroads into the U.S. music scene.
Breakthrough of the Year went to hip-hop duo Macklemore andRyan Lewis, whose songs include the gay rights anthem, "SameLove."
Walk off the Earth, along with KRNFX, took the PhenomenonAward for their version of Taylor Swift's "I Knew You WereTrouble," while the Innovation Prize went to DeStorm, who wonfor "See Me Standing."
And in an acknowledgement of the hefty amount ofuser-generated content that goes on YouTube - everything fromyawning kittens to cellphone video of major world news - YouTubegave out something called Response of the Year.
That prize went to Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix, fortheir cover of Imagine Dragons "Radioactive." Stirling is a staramong violinists - but not have the star power of Katy Perry,another of the night's nominees.
LADY GAGA, CULTURAL REFERENCES
Along with Gaga there was a shaky-cam performance by Tyler,the Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt, both of the Odd Future WolfGang Kill Them All hip-hop collective.
There were cultural references, including the quirky song"The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" from Norwegian duo Ylvis, aviral hit earlier this year.
YouTube has positioned itself in recent years as a majorsource of new music videos for fans.
Sites such as YouTube effectively function as on-demandstations for music, with fans able to listen to play lists overand over just for watching the occasional commercial.
The shift highlights some of the challenges - andopportunities - for artists. Access to music is easier than it'sever been, thanks to sites such as YouTube, music blogs,file-sharing software and more. But it's also become that muchmore difficult for musicians to earn a living.
YouTube is expected to introduce an option by the end of theyear to let music fans skip the commercials via a paidsubscription service. This would pit YouTube directly againstservices such as the online music streaming Web service Spotify,whose business model has been criticized by musicians forsqueezing artists.
- Arts & Entertainment