Today the lovely Debbie will be guest posting over on WhatLauraLoves. She's written a fabulous article all about pop stars who launched their careers online. You can follow her on Twitter here. I've also inserted some videos of the artists so you can sing along as you read- talk about multi tasking!
Pop stars who launched their careers online
The traditional route to fame and fortune in the music industry used to involve heavy rotation on the live circuit, building up a sizeable following through months on the road and hanging out with fans after a gig to sign autographs, pose for pictures and hopefully sell a few CDs or t-shirts from the back of the van. It was a time-honoured routine, fun but rarely profitable except for the lucky few, who made it big early on. It was physically exhausting too.
Today’s pop stars have a far less punishing alternative, although it still doesn’t guarantee any success - releasing material and establishing an online fan base. Add to that the low cost of putting good-quality recordings on USB sticks or CDs with companies such as www.usbmakers.com and it’s not hard to see why many talented acts now prefer to hone their skills on YouTube before taking to the stage proper. Here are a few well-known examples of acts who got their first break on the web.
He didn’t have a very good 2013, and 2014 isn’t looking too promising for him either, but Justin Bieber’s meteoric rise to fame was pretty incredible. His mother, who was as passionate about his music career as her son, began putting videos of him performing R&B covers on YouTube and it wasn’t long before he was getting thousands of views. After a marketing executive stumbled across one of the videos by accident, he tracked Bieber down and signed him to a label he ran with Usher, beating a more well-known Justin – Timberlake - in the process.
The rest is history.
One of the first artists to really use the burgeoning power of the web to her advantage, this Scottish singer performed for a series of hosted webcasts, which received a massive amount of coverage from the media after they were announced on her MySpace page a few days earlier. Her first single was predictably a smash but it wasn’t long before a backlash started, with many critics questioning how she had the resources to promote the webcasts so well over a very short period of time. The theory that Thom had in fact been ‘manufactured’ gained some credence, fairly or not. Today she rarely troubles the charts.
An act with more longevity was this Sheffield band, who emerged around the same time as Thom and have gone on to become almost national treasures. Their online launch is definitely authentic - the MySpace site touting their material was set up on their behalf by adoring fans - the band were oblivious to its existence and apparently didn’t even know how to upload songs onto the internet! Nevertheless, word-of-mouth gathered round them rapidly through people listening to and sharing their music over the web, and they’ve barely been out of the public consciousness ever since.
The South Korean gentleman who recorded the infamous Gangnam Style, which swept the world for a period of weeks, became known as the ‘King of YouTube,’ although as you might expect his was a short-lived reign. A classic one-hit wonder, Gangnam Style spawned hundreds, if not thousands, of tributes after becoming the first video to hit 1 billion views.
Still riding the waves of early success, Azealia Banks is a young female Harlem MC who overcame being dropped by her label by turning to social media to build up a reputation.
Her efforts, releasing digital downloads through her own site and Twitter, and self-promoting through YouTube, paid dividends and she’s now one of America’s hottest artists.
Who are your favourite artists that launched their careers online? Who is big on YouTube right now that you think will hit the charts soon?