How the music mainstream is changing

October 2017

As an open platform, YouTube has given the power to the people and fuelled the emergence of the ‘alternative mainstream’ – allowing music viewers to redefine ‘popular’ and enabling any artist with any style, background or experience the opportunity to break through. Here’s a few examples of the rising YouTube artists and trends.

Trends & moments:

  • Grime: The likes of Skepta, JME and Stormzy all have truly compelling YouTube stories. Take Stormzy – who started rapping at the age of 11 – using the platform to share and broadcast his tracks. Shut Up, a freestyle rap, became a YouTube sensation (60 million views) and gold-selling top 10 hit, transforming him from an underground east London grime MC into a bona fide mainstream star. Watch his short film 'Gang Signs & Prayer', exclusive to YouTube, here.
  • Latin love: Despacito took the title of ‘most viewed YouTube video’ this year and the first video to hit over 4 billion views. It’s the first Spanish Language song since the Macarena to reach #1 on the Billboard Top 100. Despite this popularity and having the most viewed music video in the world, the songwas not nominated in the VMA’s because it didn’t play on the main MTV channel, only on the Latino channel.
  • Cutesy folk: Singer, vlogger and ukulele player, Dodie Clark, has over a million YouTube subscribers plus a Shorty award for best musician on YouTube. The 22 year old shares the ups and downs of her life with her millions of fans through songs and vlogs and they love her for her authenticity and accessibility. Her debut ep, You, reached number 6 in the UK music charts.
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