In late April, the network premiered the OMAs, a fan-friendly celebration of digital music. Sharply distinct from regular award shows, it featured interactive, fan-voted awards that culminated in a live, multiplatform webcast on MTV Music Group websites.
On Tuesday, MTV will announce the O Music Awards 2, to take place Oct. 31. MTV plans for the OMAs to be so atypical that they don’t adhere to the calendar, but sprout up twice or maybe even three times a year.
In noting how quickly digital music is changing, Shannon Connolly, vice president of digital music strategy for MTV, pointed to Rebecca Black, whose viral hit “Friday” now feels like a century ago.
“We’re celebrating an emerging culture and we’re celebrating this thing that’s happening really fast,” says Connolly. “It’s partly debunking the award show format – once a year, sticking to all the same categories – but it’s also because the space is changing so quickly.”
Part of the OMA mission is to put as much attention on fans as artists. Award categories include best “fan army,” ‘‘must-follow artist on Twitter” and best fan cover.
Everything is very much in flux, with MTV continually tweaking the format. On the first OMAs, which were put together in a matter of months, Connolly recalled the sudden panic when they realized they needed an actual physical award to present. A handful of them – a kind of glass cube – had to be shuttled around to winners who needed to pre-tape acceptance speeches.
This time around, MTV allowed fans to select some of the award categories, including best “Web-born artist” and best vintage viral video. The musical spectrum has been expanded to include genres beyond pop and hip-hop. The 2nd OMAs will also have more of a presence on MTV’s flagship network.
Lady Gaga and Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator are among the leading nominees, with two nominations each. Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, The Weekend, Demi Lovato and Sinead O’Connor also received two nominations.
The first OMAs generated 3 million votes cast online and resulted in MTV’s second-largest streaming audience ever.
“The audience is there,” says Connolly. “We know we can give them something they love even more.”
Voting for the OMAs 2 begins Tuesday.