Nobody Watched the YouTube Music Awards…

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The chaotic, totally impromptu revolution wasn’t televised, and maybe that was the problem.  Because despite having the largest music audience on the planet, and some of the biggest artists streamed by that audience, YouTube was unable to draw a meaningful audience to its inaugural live-streamed Music Awards.

The on-demand masses simply didn’t re-arrange their schedules, or notice.  Throughout, the YouTube Music Awards audience hovered around 175,000 simultaneous users during its broadcast, with a peak of 220,000 when Lady Gaga came around.  Post-event streaming numbers are lukewarm, partly because it’s difficult to find.

MTV’s Video Music Awards, by indirect comparison, had 10.1 million viewers.

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8 Responses

  1. Mzwei0

    So you’re comparing the peak of the YouTube Awards with an OVERALL number of the VMAs? I mean the overall number of the YT Awards would still be lower, but this is not a well fitted comparison.

    • Paul Resnikoff


      Yes, it’s an awkward comparison, indeed. Actually, both sets of data have issues, though yes, it’s incredibly difficult to do a clean ‘apples to apples’ (though that didn’t stop me).

      That said, the disparities are pretty massive. And, this speaks volumes about YouTube’s abilities in live broadcast (not on-demand). And it was really hard to re-play the show on YT after it ended.

  2. cjhoffmn

    I watched this event unfold a little bit with interest. It would be interesting to know how much time/money was spent marketing & hosting this as compared to MTVMVA and then look at user engagement and interest. I’m no supporter of YouTube is doing, but it would be important to look at it from their metrics. 220,000 might be great, as compared to the costs, especially given that they will *claim* that these watchers are more valuable to advertisers.

  3. agraham999

    It will be interesting to see how anyone spins this as a success. More people view live Apple product releases and that’s hardly a “social media connecting touchpoint,” in the vein of YouTube. I’ve worked for sites that did over twice that traffic in a day…220,000 isn’t even a decent daily Buzzfeed post.

    With all the hype and buzz they put out leading up to this, it’s not a good sign that it couldn’t even attract an audience that would put it in a “viral” category.

  4. Anonymous

    “MTV’s Video Music Awards, by indirect comparison, had 10.1 million viewers”

    Probably because the outcome couldn’t be predicted with 100% certainty.

  5. Tune Hunter

    Why would you want to watch festivities in the prison camp.
    Current winners and rulers of music with compliant loosers attampting to make success story!
    There is no other way to view Google-Vevo relationship.

  6. Anonymous

    youtube missed the mark by giving awards to the Bubble gum Pay for play artists instead of going with talent and skill they decided to reward marketing and pay for play i am glad they failed. I do not understand it everyone knows how this game is rigged yet they choose to reward Artists for number of sales and Airplay like Those are not directly influenced by how much money they have invested into the project. Why not give awards based on Critical review? how about awarding excellence and quality over excess and quantity? oh well.

  7. khm

    Besides the KIA sponsorship there were no ads that you had to watch, so the budget shrank accordingly. This was an ad for youtube, not a show that sold other ads. plus internet connections/computers at a lot of households are still not good enough for enjoyable live internet streaming.
    That said, it was a pretty bad production, and copying the award show format and adapting it in a quirky way really failed, even though it might have sounded like a good idea on paper. It was painful to watch.