The Grammy Awards was not aired live until 1971. The first two ceremonies to be aired live were broadcast on ABC, but the telecast of the 1973 ceremony was picked up by CBS. That’s when Dick Clark came up with the idea of holding an alternative award show to compete with the Grammys. Unlike Grammy Awards which are awarded by members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the American Music Awards are determined by a poll of the public and music buyers.
The AMAs are awarded in different categories. Nominees are based on a number of criteria such as radio airplay, album and digital singles sales, social activity, video streaming and touring. Only singles and albums released between December 1 of the previous year and September 1 of the current year are eligible for nomination. Before 2010, sales and airplay were the only criteria, and every work could be nominated regardless of when it was released.
The two most important categories are Artist of the Year (awarded since 1996) and New Artist of the Year (awarded since 2004, previously known as Favorite Breakthrough Artist and Breakthrough Artist). The rest of the categories are based on genre (pop/rock, country, rap/hip-hop, soul/R&B, electronic dance music, etc.). Each genre typically has 2 to 4 categories such as Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Male Artist, Favorite Band/Duo/Group, Favorite Album. The records for the most AMAs wins are held by Michael Jackson (26 awards) and Whitney Houston (22 awards).
The American Music Awards ceremony is held in Los Angeles. From 1973 to 2003 it was held in mid- or late January. In 2003, the ceremony was moved to November to avoid competition with other major awards ceremonies such as the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.