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Who are the YouTube and TikTok," subversive "of the music industry?

via:博客园     time:2020/8/20 15:28:26     readed:946


Image source @ visual China

The author is echo and fan Zhihui

With the rapid development of communication technology, visibility has become an important dimension of contemporary cultural production, dissemination and acceptance activities, and we undoubtedly ushered in a highly visual social and cultural form. As Marx put it :" The ghost of a visual image lingers in contemporary society. "

In this context, music is gradually moving towards visual communication. The deep integration of video and music makes them push each other and grow up. This new communication logic not only broadens the content boundary of music and encourages the multi-modal development of musicians, but also forces the record companies to change, greatly reshaping the consumption mode of the music industry. According to the music consumer insight report in 2018 released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, 86% of the global users listen to music through audio and video streaming media, and 52% of them listen to music through video.

Judging from the development of the Internet, YouTube first turn "listening to music" into "watching music ", TikTok further turn it into" playing music ", and explore more creative forms of interaction between music and vision. So, for the current music industry, YouTube and TikTok, who is the real "subversive "?

5% of content accounts for 22% of viewing. What's the magic of YouTube music video?

The analysis company Pex released the 2019 YouTube Status Report, And last year music became "more valuable" in YouTube, In more than a billion videos viewed on the platform, Music accounts for 83 percent. As MBW reported before April, Although only 5 per cent of all content on the platform, But music actually accounted for 22% of all views last year.

Music video is becoming the biggest flow pool of YouTube platform. In terms of the number of times each video is viewed, music has become the largest category of the platform. According to PEX, music is watched 2944 times a minute, more than twice as many as entertainment and about 22 times as many games.


Music video is not surprising to be the YouTube's favorite kind of video, because music is the most popular cultural goods with the most audience, but also the most frequently watched art category. Compared with pure listening music provided by music streaming platform, why do so many people like to watch music video on YouTube?

Among them, the most important nature is the YouTube super platform effect. The world's largest video site, YouTube number of live users has exceeded 2 billion, while the world's largest music streaming Spotify has just reached 300 million. YouTube with overwhelming traffic advantage, attracted a large number of musicians and record companies into the platform, set up channels, upload video, become the first choice of song publicity channels.

Moreover, the UGC mode of YouTube has greatly reduced the cost of uploading songs, simplified the process and lowered the threshold for creators to enter the music market. For streaming media such as spotify, they need to deal directly with record companies and copyright holders, and pay them high royalties. However, the content of YouTube only needs to be uploaded by users and protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), most of which do not need to deal with copyright owners.

This means that compared with the mature songs produced on the streaming media platform, YouTube's music video not only has a more acceptable visual form, but also has a more wild, natural and rich variety of music. Whether it's videos produced by professional creators or shot by young people in small towns, YouTube provides high-definition, high bit rate and high accessibility video hosting services.

Behind the rich UGC content and huge traffic, there are also Google's technical and resource support for youtube, and more importantly, the scale advantage of the global business incubated by the group.

Google's acquisition of YouTube is a key node in the development of Youtube. At that time, it not only solved the problems of fund shortage and copyright litigation faced by Youtube, provided first-class streaming media technical support, but also turned YouTube into a global product. Today's YouTube music video can not only achieve content aggregation, but also establish multiple music channels according to the label of style and region. With the characteristics of international social communication, it has become a public content community for music groups around the world to exchange and learn.


Looking back at the earlier history of youtube, we can see that music has always been closely related to Youtube. PC world, a famous American IT website, published an article on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the founding of YouTube to analyze the far-reaching influence of YouTube on American people's life since its birth. According to the article, MTV announced in 2010 that it would remove music television from its logo, marking the end of the TV era of music and video and turning to the development of Internet, that is, youtube. This is because, for a long time in the past, YouTube has been regarded as an unofficial website of MTV.

At the time, the third most viewed video on YouTube was music video "7 things" by singer Miley Cyrus. Then, two years later, in the summer, the post-90s generation witnessed how a music video named "Jiangnan style" kept refreshing the data records in just 24 hours, making the world famous. With the gradual expansion of YouTube users, more and more viral music videos have been produced on this platform, such as "little apple" by chopsticks brothers and despacito by Spanish brainwashing divine comedy. YouTube has become one of the most important positions in the global popular culture industry by virtue of virus music video.


It is worth mentioning that the 47 videos in the top 50 of the YouTube list at that time were all MV. In recent years, more and more YouTube video bloggers showed a trend of high production and specialization, accelerating the trend of MV becoming the hottest video on YouTube. In other words, YouTube is becoming more and more important to the traditional music industry.

Who are the YouTube and TikTok," subversive "of the music industry?

The music videos of YouTube use visual images to interpret and enrich the music which originally belongs to the auditory level, and subverts the supporting role of music video in the era of MV with its huge flow. However, the key of its viral transmission is still the contribution of users.

As the largest video content aggregation platform, YouTube provides the soil for cross-border cultural growth in which users can connect, share and stimulate creativity. When users use video and music materials to clip music videos that are easy to spread, YouTube wave of "watching music" is almost consistent with the logic behind the TikTok's global popularity.

As a rising star, tiktok is not only responsible for promoting global popular songs, such as lil NAS X's "Old Town Road" and Drake's "toosie slide", but also makes many unknown singers become new idols overnight, such as Doja cat, Arizona zervas and Megan the stallion.

What's more, it creates an immersive and scene based music experience with more accurate algorithms; it creates a more democratic music environment with shorter video content; by encouraging a more diverse combination of vision and music, it gives more popular opportunities to creativity than to professionals.

Last month, TikTok's global music director, Ole Obermann, said in an interview with MBW :" the real surprise to me is that an independent musician can create a viral short video without any corresponding industry qualifications. This is very unique relative to other platforms, and it clearly paves the way for any type of musician. "


Behind the popularity of youtube and tiktok, they are inseparable from the visual communication of music, and are closely related to the user's UGC interaction and participation. The impact on the music industry is mainly reflected in promoting the birth of pop music works, and allowing a large number of ordinary people's long tail works to get attention.

The difference is that the short video has lower creation threshold and stronger entertainment than the longer video, and the potential of viral transmission is greater, thus attracting a wider audience to participate in the creation. In other words, tiktok's UGC model is more extreme than YouTube.

A YouTube simple Luke, with 200000 fans, once made a YouTube video about how many fans he could get in a day on tiktok. On that day, he sent a lot of short videos, and several of them showed viral transmission, which made him increase from 0 fans to 65000 fans in one day. However, it took him a year to get so many subscriptions on YouTube.

However, the content attributes and status of music on youtube and tiktok are not the same. On youtube, music appears more as a kind of content category, while music on tiktok is only one of the elements of video production. In other words, music is an inseparable element of tiktok. Although it is indispensable, it does not constitute independent content on the tiktok platform. Music is highlighted on tiktok as a tool attribute rather than a content attribute. If music videos on YouTube use images to highlight music, tiktok uses music to match images.

The results of the study in the Sales displacement and streaming music:Evidence from YouTube》 show that the impact of music videos on the YouTube on the sales of real albums has a clear "substitution effect ". When Billboard200 Top20 album is eliminated, the substitution effect drops rapidly, which shows that the advertising effect compensates for the substitution effect, that is, for non-special famous singers and albums, the YouTube advertising effect is very strong.

From this point of view, YouTube music video has both "substitution" and "promotion" effects on music singles. Previously, jay chou's "Mojito》's response to pay for music was modest and was questioned about opening up short-video channels, so short videos of only 15 seconds seemed likely to have the same" alternative "effect as YouTube.

As the polarization of the word of mouth in China, the music industry is also mixed with TikTok. Some people think short video is the future of the music industry, others think it is the future of kidnapping music with traffic-only theory.

At present, the music value of short video has not been fully stimulated for creators or copyright owners, and the music on short video does not have strict requirements on quality, but is more fun secondary creation. Although opening the bridge between it and music streaming media platform may help to spread music content, what can stimulate creative production is entertainment. For the content side of the music industry, this feature is mixed.

How to better combine music with vision and how to maximize the interaction between video platform and users are the key indicators to evaluate the impact of these two video products on the music industry. Judging from the current situation, YouTube does better in the former and tiktok does better in the latter, which seems to be a bit of a match.

But from the current trend, today's digital content industry is more and more along with the trend of terminal, platform and fragmentation. We are fully ushering in the era of short video, tiktok The impact on the music industry will be more direct and rapid, and the energy to detonate will be greater. Whether from the promotion of music or creation, the impact of short video tends to be subtle, but in fact it is subversive.

For example, the change of mainstream media will certainly change the way people perceive, thus affecting the content creation. From the most obvious change in the duration of pop music, we can get a glimpse. Between 2013 and 2018, the average length of songs on Billboard's top 100 hit singles has dropped from 3:50 to 3:30.

In this regard, we need to understand that both youtube and tiktok are no longer just a music distribution channel, but more likely to further reverse affect all aspects of the music industry.





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[introduction of titanium media Author: This article is the original manuscript of music Xiansheng. Please contact us / wechat: Chumo for reprint and business cooperation_ 01。 ]

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