by Taylor Clayton
Whether you buy your music on iTunes, get it off Bandcamp, or download it on some other website people like to get music online because it’s more efficient than going to the store and buying a CD. As the number of online music listeners grows, so do the number of musicians using the internet to gain a bigger audience. Anything from an already famous musician, to a musician who can barely strum a guitar, YouTube is home to a lot of artists seeking a larger fanbase.
Different approaches to music on this video sharing website has left the YouTube community with a scattered music taste. All the way from intellectually stimulating music about how the world works, made by the likes of ViHart and Hank Green, to Ryan Higa who raps about lamps, you can find almost anything. Male and female alike have gotten popular enough to earn themselves record deals through the medium of YouTube. Musicians such as Cody Simpson and Austin Mahone have found fame with teenage girls by posting videos of them singing popular songs, but soon left the YouTube sphere behind when they became more successful. Others, like Dave Days, have continued to produce and release music online without a record company. Actually YouTube kind of has it’s own record company, not officially, but YouTuber Hank Green and collaborator Alan Lastufka have created a record label that is almost exclusively YouTube musicians. It’s named “DFTBA Records” and that stands for Don’t Forget To Be Awesome which is a common phrase used by the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green. The company provides an online store to buy artists music.
Often times what you see is musicians having a viral video that gets a bunch of people all of the sudden listening to their music, but this isn’t always a good thing. Take Rebecca Black for example, her viral music video “Friday” got her a lot of attention, most of it negative. Most people don’t know that she continues to make music. One viral music video that everybody’s seen is “Gangnam Style” which is currently YouTube’s most viewed video ever at almost 2 billion views. This video, obviously, earned Psy a great deal of enthusiastic fans. Now, Psy has never really been an artist on YouTube, he simply used the site to display his already popular music in order to reach more people. Most big artists these days have a YouTube channel, if only to post new music videos to keep their fans happy.
YouTube is used by both new and old artists who wish to share their music with more people. Posting videos is a great way to spread your music to different corners of the world without even leaving your house. Listening to and supporting little known musicians on YouTube seems to make everything feel a little more personalized, and it gives the musician/listener relationship a more meaningful connotation. It’s like listening to a friend’s band playing your favorite songs.