Friday, April 18, 2014
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YouTube Music Video Awards: Not ready for prime-time

Tech glitches marred the first YouTube Music Video Awards. Will an on-line celebration of Jimi Hendrix tonight fare better?

YouTube Music Video Awards: Not ready for prime-time

YouTube Music Video Awards´ host Jason Schwartzman.
YouTube Music Video Awards' host Jason Schwartzman.

Tuning (webbing?) into last night’s first YouTube Music Video Awards,  on-line viewers got another warning  that streaming internet video is not ready for primetime, let alone ready to take over the world.  

Though funded by Google, with access to its'  immense server “backbone” and pulling at most 200,000 viewers (according to an  on-screen counter) the live stream repeatedly  froze up and required a “re-start,”  at least on Gizmo Guy’s home computers  (a Windows 7 laptop connecting via Internet Explorer, a Mac running Safari.)   And the expensively mounted event wasn’t viewable at all on Smart TVs loaded with a YouTube app.

Ironically – the YouTube award is a simple block decorated with a “play” arrow.

Lot of the casual jokes between show hosts Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts were lost in the freeze-up.  And  the big finale with annointed "Artist of the Year"  Eminem (“Rap God”) was scrambled so badly  that Schwartzman (who must have gotten a clue by this time) then ended the 90 minute show  very abruptly, a couple minutes early.

There was a lot to like earlier  on in the rough and tumble production – especially  on-the-fly live music videos featuring “dub-step” violinist Lindsey Sterling  (soaring over a city like a videogame superhero), and an edgy, Lena Dunham/Spike Jonze spun romantic  mini-drama  in an EDM nightclub  with choose your own catfight adventure finale, all circling around an appearance/music from Avicii.  (Both are surely posted.) 

We also liked the Kanye moment from Win Butler (Arcade Fire), interrupting an acceptance piece for a Taylor Swift win to proclaim that the giddiest version of  “Harlem Shake” really deserved the “YouTube Phenomenon” award. Too true.

We’re almost reluctant to now plug the on-line preview at 6:30 p.m. tonight at https://ovee.itvs.org/screenings/6jxrc. for “American Masters: Jimi Hendrix-  Hear My Train a Comin,’” for fear it will also fail ‘ya.  The  doc , filled with rare interview and concert footage, is set to premiere tomorrow night at 9 on TV 12, locally. But  in theory you’ll be able to sneak preview the first 20 minutes on line tonight, and throw questions to director Bob Smeaton.  Psst. . . .  If you can get one in, ask how come there’s no whiff  in the doc of all the ugly post-death wheelings/dealings by the Hendrix estate, as Jimi’s career  rocketed even higher than it had during his lifetime.

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them – for the Philadelphia Daily News, philly.com and the McClatchy Tribune News Service. Reach Jonathan at takiffj@phillynews.com.

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
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