YouTube Music Awards goes live tonight at 6PM EST

The first-ever YouTube Music Awards are set to go live tonight at 6:00PM EST with a star-studded cast of performers including Eminem, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Avicii, M.I.A., and others. Hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts and directed by Spike Jonze, the YTMA are written for laughs, entertainment, and of course kudos for the nominated artists. Nominations were determined by user data.

The production obviously isn't pulling any punches as the Google-backed award ceremony revs up for its debut, but the company wasn't willing to reveal the cost. "It's certainly not free," was all YouTube marketing VP Danielle Tiedt had to say about it.

And yet despite its broadcast-level purse strings, the strange mix of mainstream superstars sharing the limelight with YouTube original smash hits like Epic Rap Battles of History and the Gangnam Style video allow for a looseness unseen on TV. Plenty of improvisation will be built into the YTMA. "It's so awesomely not broadcast television," Jonze told the New York Times. "It's the Internet."

Nominations for the awards were determined by YouTube viewing and interaction data from the past twelve months. The categories are Video (most fan engagement), Artist (most watched, shared, liked, and subscribed-to), Response (best fan remix, parody or response video), and Innovation (creative video innovations with most views, likes, shares and comments) of the Year, as well as YouTube Phenomenon (songs that inspired the most fan videos) and YouTube Breakthrough (artists with the largest growth in views and subscribers.) Variety has a full nomination list.

"YouTube Music Awards is all about you—the fans—and the artists and videos you love," the YMTA homepage states. "The nominees were selected based purely on YouTube data from the last 12 months, and every time you watched, shared, liked, or subscribed, you helped determine the final list.

To vote, you can search 'YTMA' on YouTube, and share the nomination videos to Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE: New York Times