YouTube – The Undiscovered
It is strange to think that the World Wide Web has only been ensnaring technology users for the last two decades, yet the so-called ‘90s generation’ cannot help but reach for their laptops and smartphones in order to search for the latest celebrity gossip, music videos and a quick fact or two from Wikipedia. This ‘internet habit’ has spread to older and younger generations, giving social media and networking sites an extremely large and varied audience. If you want to discover or be discovered, the internet is theplace to be.
I am particularly interested in YouTube, a website which billions of people around the world access every day, whether they wish to listen to their favourite artist sing that latest chart stopper one more time, or stumble across something new, funny or unpredictable. It is in this way that undiscovered solo artists and bands often gain a glimpse of stardom, a growing fan base or, in unfortunate cases, severely negative comments from complete strangers. Nevertheless, the site holds claim to the likes of Justin Bieber, Greyson Chance and Sam Tsui, awakening other potential singers and songwriters to the possibilities of this new online promotional tool.
Justin Bieber’s videos are the most watched on YouTube and his fans follow him in their millions to see him perform. A few years ago however, he was just another young teen. Record label scouts are frequently sent out into the world without even leaving the comfort of their desk chairs, scouring through endless home videos and recordings to find the latest star. YouTube increases public awareness of these relatively unknown individuals, slowly building up a supportive (or otherwise) audience for them until they either become a major sensation or reach a particular level of public approval. As we have seen with both ‘Bieber Fever’ and the ‘Black Plague’ (remember Rebecca Black and her off-the-charts single Friday?) this sort of attention can produce a viral sensation which may or may not be appreciated by a wide audience, but certainly grabs the attention of a lot of people.
The twenty-first century is slowly becoming the time of the YouTube artist, building up from grassroots support and grabbing the attention of those in the music industry when the public can’t scream any louder for their favourite to be given a chance in the spotlight. We follow their journey from the very beginning and wait with baited breath to see how far they can get in this new hybrid world of music and technology.