NEW YORK - The first-ever YouTube Music Awards on Sunday, improvised with plenty of celebrity cameos thrown into the mix, saw awards going to rapper Eminem and hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
The show made a clear bid for the quirky, a benefit of being streamed by YouTube rather than broadcast on television.
If the music itself sometimes felt a little overshadowed by all the hoopla, it shouldn't surprise. The show was also a sort of announcement by YouTube of its intentions to take a bigger role in the music industry.
The music awards market is almost as crowded as the music market. YouTube featured big stars such as Lady Gaga to attract attention, while keeping enough of an outsider perspective to differentiate itself from MTV, the Grammys and other music powerhouses.
Although the Google-owned site has for years been a go-to place for music fans around the world, the site is now expected to introduce a paid music service by year-end.
"There was nothing scripted tonight," said actor Jason Schwartzman, 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 Year was awarded to Girls' Generation, who are megastars in South Korea but are still making inroads into the US music scene.
Breakthrough of the Year went to hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, whose songs include the gay rights anthem, "Same Love."
Walk off the Earth, along with KRNFX, took the Phenomenon Award for their version of Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble," while the Innovation Prize went to DeStorm, who won for "See Me Standing."