There are over 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and yet every now and again one of those videos stands out. It is shared on every other social network available; it becomes a “must-see” phenomenon. What is it that creates such a phenomenon? Why does something start trending on Twitter? How can an artist stand out on a video platform like YouTube that has so much content?
2013 was a year of parodies; from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t hold us” to the multiple recreations of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between good buzz and bad buzz. It’s all about interaction between official and non-official content. The right video can boost sales and increase the notoriety of the artist. The wrong video can damage the artist’s image and make fans disinterested.
One of the biggest videos of 2013 was the Harlem Shake. The official music video was released in early January 2013 reaching a few millions views. The real success came when the public started creating parodies of the dance. By April Harlem Shake had 1 billion views on YouTube and it got there faster than the internet sensation Gangnam Style.
The other side of this is bad Buzz. A good example of this is the Yelling Goats Parody. The video contains clips of various goats edited to sound like a popular song. Victims of this joke include Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Usher. Although the creativity and good-taste of techie or geeky internet culture can surely be discussed, there is no evidence that it actually affects sales. It mostly happens to highly popular artists. People don’t want just to enjoy video content, they also like to participate.
What is sure is that non-official content will continue to grow in the coming years. For the music industry it’s going to be all about integrating it in the story telling of the artist without disrupting its image.
The content is increasingly generated by third parties. We are no longer in a top-down diffusion; there is now an organic ecosystem, with live content. We look forward to seeing what “must-see” videos there are to come in 2014.
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