YouTube and the Music Industry.
A strand of people believes that the emergence of EDM and with YouTube being the de-facto platform for young artists, music around the world is steadily declining. This strand is usually associated with record executives, who have suffered some setbacks with the emergence of YouTube as the unofficial platform for all kinds of music. The other strand sees this as a welcome change, one that encourages artistic expression and challenges the hegemony of studio executives who have for long monopolised on and exploited the talent of artists to generate revenues for themselves. For young aspiring artists, opening a YouTube account and gathering subscribers is relatively easier and economical in comparison to hunting for a label that would be willing to represent them. With the emergence of VEVO, although it was set up by music labels, the ultimate benefactor has been YouTube. Although VEVO as a platform, caters exclusively to music videos while YouTube accommodates a wide range of all kinds of uploads, hits on VEVO have correspondingly increased the viewership of YouTube.
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YouTube executives have repeatedly defended against claims of fraudulent and/or paid views as well as issues with payment of royalties to artists. It is common knowledge that one can earn a decent amount of money from YouTube once their music goes viral. This has allowed a wider range of audiences to come forward and show their skills to the world. The sheer uncertainty of who might be the next big thing in the music industry has kept producers on their feet, scouting for talents. International hits such as “Gangnam Style” and “Bonbon” would not have generated a viewership storm, and neither would K-Pop become a worldwide fascination had it not been for a platform like YouTube. While media such as Spotify and Apple Music have started coming into the scene only recently, they must compete with the already consolidated base that YouTube has built for itself.
YouTube is the now the safest shortcut to fame for many aspiring artists, and this is not just limited to the music industry. Let’s not forget how Lilly Singh went from becoming the highest-paid female YouTuber to the first woman of colour to host a late-night talk show on American television. YouTube has granted artists greater independence and control over their music, with significantly greater royalties. Music has evolved through the years, from jazz to rock to pop and EDM. What may be considered odd and out of place today might become legendary years later. Even Queen had their fair share of troubles getting a label to sign them back in the 80s. And Walker’s first hit is still ruling charts five years after its release.
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