Music Industry Singles Out YouTube For Song Marketing

Posted Sep 19, 2008 by Saikat Basu
Need some free promotion for your new video singles? Try out YouTube. The video-sharing site is the new medium for music marketing even for those with megabucks.
YouTube is the undisputed champ of free video entertainment. The world's greatest repository of videos and clips now offers upcoming wannabes a chance to strut their stuff at virtually no cost. According to producer/manager Chaka Zulu who is promoting three-time Grammy Award-winning American rapper and actor Ludacris, music has a universal concept and theme and it's all about emotions. Chaka Zulu uploaded a track from Ludacris's forthcoming album on YouTube. No jazzed up videos, just a picture in its place.
"You actually get to visualize the music."
Zulu's first positive brush with YouTube happened two years ago when he posted Ludacris' song "War with God" with just the rapper's picture as a visual on the site. Soon after, Zulu's BlackBerry was bombarded with text messages. Recounting that experience he says,
"I was getting tons of messages about how they loved it. I didn't know that many people heard it."
For him and many others YouTube has become a viable marketing medium.
A casual search reveals what he is talking about. Besides a cornucopia of regular videos there are many with just pictures and slideshows with a background accompaniment of the music. And each gets its share of views. Old tracks or new tracks, their is something to be had for free.
DJ Sickamore, a former director of A&R at Atlantic Records now with his own entertainment company, says YouTube provides an easy way to access and listen to music from around the world. And it has to do with the user experience.
"Other file hosting sites have too many steps. If I like a song, I can hear it instantly without any problems. You definitely have to take advantage of this tool."
The advantages of a mass medium like YouTube is quiet obvious. It can be distilled into two parts - low cost and wide reach. The negative is of course posting a song before a proper studio sanctioned release.
Says David Bell, director of digital marketing at the Zomba Label Group, which includes Jive Records, home to Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Ciara and Britney Spears.
"It's another channel for leaked music. It's not just peer-to-peer sites anymore. All they're trying to do is show their love for the artist, but at the end of the day, they're taking a leaked track and (it's) just sort of a multiplication of our music."
Doubting Thomases aside, if you are looking for the world's ear, an amateur or the professional cannot afford to ignore YouTube. Isn't it all about mass appeal?