The increasing closeness between music streaming services and fast emerging artists might make major labels feel a little uncomfortable – and it doesn’t look like the trend will be going away any time soon.
YouTube Music has just added 11 new artists to its Foundry development program for independent acts and will add an additional set of artists later this year.
Not only does YouTube provide these artists with marketing promotion, but they also receive training in best practices for growing and engaging their audience on the platform.
Artists who have previously benefited from the Foundry program include the likes of Grammy winner Dua Lipa, ROSALÍA, Dave, CUCO, Gunna, Mahalia, Maleek Berry, Chloe x Halle, Jacob Collier, Rauw Alejandro, and Cavetown.
Foundry began in 2016 as a series of workshops and content creation sessions at YouTube Spaces in Los Angeles, New York, and London, with the goal of providing artists tools to grow their presence on YouTube.
The new artists include midwestern psych-soul guitarist Omar Apollo, London poet-turned-songwriter Arlo Parks, Chicago singer and rapper Ann Marie, Houston and Chihuahua, Mexico-based regional mexican songwriter Abraham Vazquez, Tokyo rock band Ace Collection, Port-au-Prince DJ and producer Michael Brun, Los Angeles R&B singer iyla, Dublin hip-hop experimentalist Kojaque, London-via-Lagos rapper Flohio, Seoul production duo GroovyRoom, and Brussels rapper ICO.
Emerging artist initiatives offered by other streaming services include the likes of SoundCloud’s ‘First on SoundCloud’, which debuted in the US, and was followed with a launch in the UK and Germany last year with six artists to receive support across its apps, playlists, social feeds and newsletters, as well as social and out of home advertising.
Then there’s Spotify’s RISE program, which backs artists with promo on its owned and operated playlists and editorial channels, as well as through short form documentary films and original recording sessions.
In addition to Foundry, YouTube has also been offering support in the form of in-product promotion and programming, out-of-home, social and fan events at YouTube Spaces for acts on it’s Artist On The Rise program, which was recently expanded to include a video content series produced in exclusive partnership with Genius.
YouTube Music’s desire to support artists (and executives) at the start of their careers can also be witnessed with the platform’s investment in new studios at the BRIT School in London (YouTube Music will also provide emerging talent there with mentoring, masterclasses and other guidance), not to mention its support of the Accelerator Programme for Music Managers.
“It’s a privilege to partner with these artists to support their channels as they grow and their music travels across borders.”
Naomi Zeichner, YouTube Music
Naomi Zeichner, Artist Promotional Partnerships Lead for YouTube Music said: “Great content is at the foundation of any artist’s success.
“Foundry artists make videos that bring context to their music and teach people new things about the world.
“It’s a privilege to partner with these artists to support their channels as they grow and their music travels across borders.
“The more these artists engage and break through, the more learnings we’re able to share back with YouTube’s entire artist community.”
“Foundry was my introduction to YouTube. I was just starting to release music at the time, and I was excited to learn how to connect with my audience.”
Dua Lipa added: “Foundry was my introduction to YouTube. I was just starting to release music at the time, and I was excited to learn how to connect with my audience.
“Since then, I’ve created all kinds of content and my fans know that YouTube is the place to go to see all of me. As of last month, I have more than 10 million subscribers, and we’re still growing.”
“YouTube has been a key piece in making my music global.”
ROSALÍA said: “YouTube has been a key piece in making my music global. I curate my music to the smallest detail and all my visuals as well. With YouTube my music can be seen while heard, which is fundamental for me because it allows my radical musical bets to be more accessible.
“It’s a blessing for an artist when the world can access your music — whoever you are, wherever you are, whenever you want.
“When I was selected for Foundry last year I was so excited. It meant a lot for my songs and videos at a time in which I didn’t yet have the infrastructure or label support on my side, and I am very grateful for it.”
“YouTube has helped me take my creative vision to the next level, and charted my journey from my earliest freestyles to singles that have been shot all over the world.”
Dave added: “YouTube has always been the launchpad for all my music, as I spend so much time perfecting the visuals before dropping new tracks.
“Being part of the YouTube Music Foundry last year meant that once my music and videos were ready to go, I knew they were in the position to make as much noise as possible.
“YouTube has helped me take my creative vision to the next level, and charted my journey from my earliest freestyles to singles that have been shot all over the world.
“YouTube has been there since the beginning and as an independent artist, they’ve been an invaluable help along the way.”Music Business Worldwide