While I don't necessarily think what the world really needs right now is another music awards show (I mean, do we really want another twerking fiasco and the post-mortem Miley Cyrus gifs?) , Youtube's first ever YouTube Music Awards on November 3rd is important for two reasons:
1) The new mediums of content consumption need to be recognized more as an institutional presence, instead of letting traditional friends like Nielsen TV ratings and the Emmy's maintain the race.
I've written about this before. Here's another more recent example from Lindsay Abram's Breaking Bad analysis of how a conflation of metrics are leading towards the democratized popularity throne:
While [Breaking Bad] fans last Sunday were finding out how the final pieces of the show’s end game are beginning to fit together, 325,000 tweets documented its every twist and turn. With its relatively small audience, it wasn’t setting any Twitter records (that honor belongs to “Pretty Little Liars,” which at full force is capable of generating 70,000 tweets per minute),
2) We should start validating content native to YouTube and online platforms. Not just the carbon copy of the TV episode that was ported over and uploaded to YouTube.
Categories for the awards show haven't been announced yet, but you can expect that the awards will be more data-driven and a bit more nuanced than the "Best Rock Album"-esque categories we're used to seeing. Fastest-growing songs, most viewed, most shared are all likely to be awards. After all, this is the way we consume on YouTube, so why not measure and award the same way.