15 Music Stars Who Started on YouTube -- Then & Now (PHOTOS)

Some unsigned, unknown musicians turn to American Idol or The Voice to help launch their careers but an increasing number of aspiring artists have embraced a DIY approach, tapping into the built-in exposure of video sharing site YouTube and foreseeing the potential for viral success. Over the years, a number of acts have amassed thousands — if not millions — of YouTube fans and, in the process, earned recognition and fans. For some, YouTube fame translated into thriving careers filled with worldwide tours and chart-topping hits. For others, the experience was a shot-lived brush with fame.

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Carly Rae Jepsen and Justin Bieber stand out as pinnacles of YouTube success, but not everyone had such good fortune. Some YouTube stars signed headline-making deals, only to be dropped due to disappointing sales or creative differences. Others grew disenchanted with the machinations of major labels and chose to release their music independently. And some are just now becoming true boldface names whose YouTube roots are rarely, if ever, discussed. Take a look at some of YouTube's breakout stars and find out what they're up to now.

 

Image via CF imageSPACE/Splash News/Corbis

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