YouTube is the world’s most popular visual medium. A platform where over 1.8 billion users consume videos. Although the line ‘Video killed the radio star’ is synonymous with television overtaking radio as the primary entertainment source, video has enabled the radio star to reach a far greater audience than ever imagined. In an ironic collaboration, music and video now foster the growth of each in a symbiotic relationship.
Below are ten examples of musicians who have mastered this platform:
OK Go – The Dreamers
Perhaps the most successful band in utilizing the medium of video for their music is OK Go. They are most famous for their 2006 viral hit Here It Goes Again, in which the band performs their track across multiple treadmills. OK Go has become infamous for their highly creative, often one-take videos. While their songs are popular and they’ve played sold-out shows, their original use of YouTube has resulted in worldwide fame and songs with over 50 million views. Many may argue that the music should speak for itself but combining the two mediums continually creates something beautiful. “The universal thing we’re trying to get at is just curiosity and wonder,” says Damian Kulash.
- Location : Illinois
- Videos : 404
- Subscribers : 977 000
Michael New – Michael New
Michael has successfully established himself as a music teaching leader with a sum of only 59 videos. His unique way of breaking down music concepts and making them both readily understandable and applicable has created a large, loyal fan base. Michael says,
“I think if you strip away a lot of the jargon and old conventions, it becomes far easier to understand the ideas behind the music.”
In our modern share economy, Michael has used this visual medium to add value to his followers through his student considered approach.
- Location : United States
- Videos : 59
- Subscribers : 324,000
Ten Second Songs – Anthony Vincent
While the name is clickbait, this channel is a showcase of Anthony Vincent’s versatile musicality. Built for entertainment, Anthony has found a prevalent niche. He performs well-known songs in another popular band’s style. Simply creating a video that appeals to fans of numerous genres in each video. Although his material may not be original; it is highly entertaining, and with over 3.41m subscribers, it works.
- Location : New York
- Videos : 102
- Subscribers : 3,410,000
Robert Scallon – Rob Scallon
With so many musicians on YouTube, it is challenging to stand out from the crowd. Rob Scallon managed to do this by paying homage to his roots and staying true to his love for heavy metal. Rob launched his channel in 2007, but it exploded when he began performing renditions of popular hardcore metal tracks using untraditional instruments. Most notable are his renditions of songs on banjo, including ‘Master of Puppets’ by Metallica and ‘Psychosocial’ by Slipknot. His original blend has resulted in his guitar line and successful careers both on and offline.
- Location : Illinois
- Videos : 405
- Subscribers: 2,080,000
Vihart – Victoria Hart
Victoria Hart, commonly known as Vi Hart, is a self-described as a “recreational mathemusician”. She has harnessed music’s power as a learning tool to understand complex mathematical theories like the Fibonacci sequence or hexaflexagons. Her channel is a clear example of the transformative learning capabilities when utilizing music in your YouTube videos. Within three years, Vi has managed to garner a cult following with her quirky videos and 1.34m followers.
- Location : New York
- Videos : 120
- Subscribers: 1,340,000
Creative Sound Lab – Ryan Earnhardt
Creative Sound Lab is exactly what you think it is, an adult’s playground of sound. In Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde experiments, each video explores the endless possibilities of testing different instruments and environments. With videos covering topics like ‘Trash Can Reverb for a Huge Drum Sound,‘ ‘Using Air and Mic Distance to Compress Sounds’, and ‘Vacuum Hose Drum Delay,’ Ryan delivers lessons you never knew you needed.
- Location : Asheville, North Carolina
- Videos : 248
- Subscribers : 57,600
Andrew Huang – Andew Huang
Despite being partially deaf or perhaps owing to this, Andrew Huang has a penchant for creating as much sound as possible. As he would put it ‘I just try to make noise with everything’. He is best known for the strange feats of musicianship, which have earned him over 250 million views.
On his YouTube channel, he has rapped 300 words in a minute, composed a classical piece in the shape of a unicorn, and covered numerous pop songs using only the sounds of items mentioned in the lyrics – for instance, “99 Red Balloons’ played with red balloons. While David has fun with the music he creates, he is an accomplished producer and has recorded over 40 albums.
- Location : Toronto, Canada
- Videos : 561
- Subscribers: 2,070 000
Drumeo – Musora Media, Inc.
Drumeo is a collection of videos from the best drummers in the world. One of the most critical veins that run through any track is the constant timing that the entire song follows; this is often led by the drummer. Drumeo has utilized star drummers, simple to follow tips, and weekly video uploads to garner more than 1.5 million subscribers. Their following is an allegiance of fast blazing, drumstick flicking fans who have finally found a channel that caters only to them. This channel is proof of the power in finding a niche and catering to a specific audience.
- Location : Canada
- Videos : 1,177
- Subscribers: 1,670 000
KSI – Olajide Olayinka Williams
Born in 1993, Olajide Olayinka Williams is a beacon of hope for an entire generation of YouTube creators looking for a big break. From his humble beginnings in 2009 posting gaming commentary videos of FIFA, KSI has become synonymous with hard hitting grime tracks.
KSI started his YouTube channel as a hobby, but as his subscribers grew, he expanded on true millennial style content. He included joke rap songs, daily vlogs, commentary on modern entertainment, and even participated in celebrity boxing matches to grow his following. All while developing a legit name for himself as an authentic grime artist since 2015.
When he released Lamborghini, an infectious hip hop track aimed squarely at his huge YouTube fan base. Ever the opportunist, looking to build his brand, his London laced tracks are rammed full of hook-ups with big US hip-hop names. The aim here is not just to make “YouTube rap” but the real thing. With 8 UK Top 40 singles, the mission has definitely been accomplished.
- Location : London, UK
- Videos : 1,214
- Subscribers: 21,900,000
The Recording Revolution – Graham Cochrane
Most musicians use YouTube for self-promotion, while Graham Cochrane has used this platform to give back through vital learning. ‘Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day, give a man a fishing rod, and he eats for life’. Graham gives musicians all the tools to make a living in this challenging industry. While struggling, musicians often complain, “I don’t have this $2000 monitor or this premium plugin, so that is why my records don’t sound professional.” Graham’s channel is dedicated to equalizing the gap between wealth and production quality.
- Location : Tampa, Florida
- Videos : 624
- Subscribers: 589,000
“We can’t rewind we’ve gone too far, Pictures came and broke your heart, Put the blame on VCR.” The Buggles. With 46% of music streaming, YouTube currently aggregates more music streams than all of the other streaming services combined. While many musicians may feel that the music should speak for itself if they want more fans to tune in to their music they have to turn it on in their videos.
Would you like to meet some new people to talk to on a topic you find interesting?
Check out these Zoom mixer meetings to chat about your hobby or obsession.