LOS ANGELES (AFP) -Boy band One Direction took home top prizes Sunday at the American Music Awards as chart-topper Taylor Swift used the platform to deliver a staunch defense of traditional album buying.
The American Music Awards (AMAs) focus on commercial success with fans voting for their favourites, in contrast to the older Grammy Awards in which music industry professionals select what they consider to be the year’s top work.
One Direction, the heartthrobs who have released albums every year since 2011, won the biggest prizes including Artist of the Year and Favourite Album with their latest work, “Midnight Memories”.
The British quintet flew into Los Angeles for the gala ceremony at the Nokia Theatre, where the young men thanked screaming fans for One Direction’s success in the United States.
Taylor Swift received a new award for excellence named in honour of the American Music Awards’ late founder Dick Clark, a pioneer of music television performances with his “American Bandstand” show.
Accepting the award from Motown legend Diana Ross, Swift appeared to dish out a new round of criticism, albeit obliquely, against the streaming service Spotify from which she has pulled her music.
Thanking her fans, Swift said, “What you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you’re saying that you believe in the same thing that I believe in – that music is valuable and that music should be consumed in albums, and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated.”
Swift’s latest album, “1989”, enjoyed the highest sales of any US album in its first week in 12 years. It far outpaced industry expectations by selling two million copies in the United States in its first three weeks.
After the album came out, Swift pulled her entire catalog from Spotify, accusing the fast-growing streaming service of devaluing music by not paying enough back to artists.
Spotify’s Swedish founder Daniel Ek hit back that the company has paid $2 billion to artists and songwriters since its 2008 launch, creating a rare source of new revenue in the beleaguered industry.
Swift opened the evening by performing the album’s latest single “Blank Space”, in which the 24-year-old singer – playing at her reputation for short-lived relationships – held a burning rose as she pushed back suitors who pranced around her holding open picture frames.
Hip hop bad boy Lil Wayne also took to the stage in a passionate dance with actress and singer Christina Milian, his rumoured girlfriend.
They performed “Start a Fire” – with ABC television editing out some lyrics from the broadcast. The track is expected to be on Lil Wayne’s upcoming album “Tha Carter V”, which is scheduled for release on December 9 after repeated delays.
List of winners at the American Music Awards
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The American Music Awards were given out on Sunday in Los Angeles, with One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer taking the top accolades.
Following is a list of winners grouped by musical genre.
Artist of the year
– One Direction
New artist of the year
– 5 Seconds of Summer
Single of the year
– Katy Perry featuring Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
Favourite male artist – Pop/rock
– Sam Smith
Favourite female artist – Pop/rock
– Katy Perry
Favourite band, duo or group – Pop/rock
– One Direction
Favourite album – Pop/rock
– One Direction, “Midnight Memories”
Favourite male artist – Country
– Luke Bryan
Favourite female artist – Country
– Carrie Underwood
Favourite band, duo or group – Country
– Florida Georgia Line
Favourite album – Country
– Brantley Gilbert, “Just As I Am”
Favourite artist – Rap/hip-hop
– Iggy Azalea
Favourite album – Rap/hip-hop
– Iggy Azalea, “The New Classic”
Favourite male artist – Soul/R&B
– John Legend
Favourite female artist – Soul/R&B
Favourite album – Soul/R&B
– Beyonce, “Beyonce”
Favourite artist – Alternative rock
– Imagine Dragons
Favourite artist – Adult contemporary
– Katy Perry
Favourite artist – Latin
– Enrique Iglesias
Favourite artist – Contemporary inspirational
– Casting Crowns
Favourite artist – Electronic dance music
– Calvin Harris