YouTube’s squabbles with the music have been thoroughly reported, but at the same time, the video site has quietly worked alongside labels and other industry partners. The Wall Street Journal has detailed YouTube’s efforts to shine light on up-and-coming artists through promotional videos, magazine ads, radio deals, and other means.
The WSJ report pays particular attention to YouTube’s relationship with CL, a Korean performer who is hoping to grow her audience overseas. The video site learned about CL when it met with her manager, Scooter Braun (who best known for discovering Justin Bieber on YouTube years ago), and ask his team which artists it should promote. Since then, it has produced multiple projects for CL, including a short introductory video titled “Meet CL.”
YouTube and the recording industry have fought over the amount of royalties the former entity pays out to the latter’s artists, and the two sides have discussed ways they can improve their relationship. Based on those facts, it would be logical to think of YouTube’s work for artists like CL as a way to appease music industry bigwigs, but one of the video site’s execs told the WSJ that isn’t the case. Instead, YouTube global head of artist and label relations Vivien Lewit said the promotional efforts are designed to get new viewers (and listeners) onto the site.
Specifically, these efforts seem to be linked to the YouTube Music Foundry, a resource for emerging artists launched earlier in 2016. When we reported on the launch of that hub, we noted that YouTube had entered talks with music industry execs, and these promotional efforts could be the product of those discussions.
Lewit did not reveal to the WSJ how many emerging artists YouTube is working with or how much money it is spending on these campaigns.