In the world of digital media, virtually everyone is a creator – a fact that has important implications for the music industry.
According to the 2023 edition of the YouTube Culture and Trends Reportwhich the Alphabet-owned video streaming service released to coincide with the opening of the VidCon 2023 conference in Anaheim, Calif. last Wednesday (June 21), fully 82% of 18-44 year olds surveyed said they had uploaded video content to a service, whether instagramTikTok, Snapchat or Youtube – in the past 12 months.
What else, 40% of respondents describe themselves as content creators.
It paints a clear picture of the world the music industry, along with all entertainment industries, is heading into – a world where the monopoly of talent and attention can no longer be taken for granted.
For its report, YouTube partnered with pollster Ipsos to conduct a survey that included 25,892 respondents aged 18-44 in 14 countries, namely the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
Among the revelations of the survey: Fans are increasingly the mediators between media events and the public. A majority of respondents – 54% — said they’d rather watch the creators comment on a major media event than the event itself.
As an example, the YouTube report cites the Brazilian YouTube channel CazéTV, which brought more 6 million viewers to its live broadcast of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
“Viewers increasingly expect personalized experiences and use different formats to meet different states of need – viewing long-form, short-form, live and pre-recorded content on mobile and connected TV screens,” the report said. Youtube.
The same seems to be increasingly true when it comes to audio streaming. Over the past few years, we’ve seen digital streaming providers (DSPs) and other music companies increasingly work to engage fans more directly – both as a way to attract and retain subscribers, and potentially find new ways to monetize music fans.
The direct-to-fan business model has blossomed recently. Bandzoogle, a company that offers e-commerce tools for musicians to market and sell products directly to fans, has recently exceeded $100 million in sales thanks to its tools, and now feeds some 60,000 websites.
On this front, YouTube itself is a leader. For example, YouTube Premium subscribers were given special access behind the scenes at this year’s Coachella Music Festival, allowing viewers to see what was happening behind the scenes as artists prepared for their sets.
The Coachella live stream has also been integrated with YouTube Shopping, allowing fans to purchase artist merchandise directly from their screen during the show.
“(AI) has already begun to reshape the intersection of self-expression and fandom, allowing viewers to broaden the meaning of cultural entities they find resonant.”
YouTube Culture and Trends Report
The YouTube report also touched on the emergence of generative AI in all corners of media over the past year, taking an optimistic approach to the topic.
“Amid an explosion of AI-powered tools, creators are adapting technologies to expand their individual creative capabilities,” YouTube’s report said. “Ambitious and complex ideas can be executed with greater speed and higher production value than would have been possible before.”
He went on to say that generative AI “democratizes complex forms of self-expression, ushering us into a world where unique ideas are the foundation of what breaks through online.”
The report notes that AI is breaking down the language barrier, making it easier than ever for consumers to view content created in a language they don’t speak. He noted the rise of “silent vlogs” that use closed captions in multiple languages.
And he also noted the barriers it could break down in the music business. As an example, he cited Korean singer MIDNATT, who released a single earlier this year, MasqueradeIn six different languages.
MIDNATT recorded the song in six languages, but label HYBE used AI “to further refine the artist’s pronunciation and intonation”. This was done using technology from Supertone, the fake voice AI company that HYBE acquired in 2022.
In YouTube’s survey, 60% of respondents say they are open to watching AI-generated content, and 52% said they had watched a Vtuber (virtual YouTuber or virtual artist) in the past year.
“Amid an explosion of AI-powered tools, creators are adapting technologies to expand their individual creative abilities.”
YouTube Culture and Trends Report
This trend among media consumers could be a big part of why major record labels love Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ) And Warner Music Group’s Whet Records are investing heavily in building a roster of virtual artists, while others, like HYBE and Tencent, are developing new AI technologies for their artists to use.
Tencent, for example, revealed late last year that it had created over 1,000 AI-generated songsincluding one that had already accumulated 100 million streams.
And it also explains why many tech companies are getting into AI-generated music gaming. Just last week, MBW announced that Microsoft is develop an AI rap generator called Deep Rapper.
This news came a few days later Facebook and Instagram’s parent meta-platforms released an AI music text generator called Music Gen. It can take text prompts such as “upbeat acoustic folk” or “pop dance floor with catchy melodies” and turn them into newly generated 12-second music videos.
And last month, Google made available to the public an “experimental” AI tool called MusicLM, which works similarly to Meta’s music generator – type in a description of a type of music you want, and MusicLM will generate a track for you.
In the case of MusicLM, it will create two versions of the requested song, so that the person requesting it can vote for which one they prefer, which Google says will “help improve the AI model”.
The AI revolution “has already begun to reshape the intersection of self-expression and fandom, allowing viewers to expand the meaning of cultural entities they find resonant,” the YouTube report states.
“The speed and quality of AI-supported creativity can result in a diversity of executions that can be consumed on their own, but truly exist in dialogue with each other.”The music industry around the world