The Daily Gamecock

YouTube good for artists, binds fans together

New, accessible media alters industry for better


The music world never stays the same. These days especially, musicians keep us ahead of the curve by using new media to continuously change the industry for the better.

Producer Baauer’s hit “Harlem Shake” has been No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the fourth consecutive week. It’s not hard to believe a catchy Trap-EDM banger would get plenty of airplay. Rather, I believe it is the only No. 1 song in the nation that almost no one has heard beyond the first 30 seconds.

YouTube has not-so-quietly taken over as the new go-to channel to experience music. Despite the growing popularity of streaming services like Spotify and Rdio, YouTube has withstood the competition as one of the most popular ways to listen to music online.

YouTube has changed the business model for creating a hit and has forced record labels to focus more strongly on aesthetics than sound itself. It allows a song to stay under the radar for months, and something as simple as four guys in Morphsuits could bring an artist to the top of the charts. YouTube allows for underground artists who do not have a major record deal to upload their video online and rapidly gain popularity.

YouTube is terrific for the music industry because it allows the record labels to sit back and watch the masses do the work for them. The fans will share the song and build a genuine network of fellow listeners. Maybe this makes the song stale a little bit quicker, and in some cases, like with “Harlem Shake,” it moves emphasis from the music to the excitement surrounding it. But in the short term, it allows us to bond more tightly over music together.