Remember the days when you would turn on the radio and boogie down to the latest Top 40 dance hits? Okay, I just aged myself. Because, like, fer sure, that's not the way it happens anymore. (The Valley-speak just aged myself too.) Today, pop stars aren't made on the radio, but on YouTube. Three of this summer's biggest hits, "Call Me Maybe," "We Are Young," and "Somebody That I Used to Know," gathered millions of views on YouTube before radio helped spin them into monster smashes.
The reasons why YouTube is taking over where radio and MTV left off are obvious -- hardly any young people listen to the radio anymore, what with their iPods, smartphones, and computers. And MTV essentially stopped playing music videos years ago. So pop stars migrated to YouTube. Here, people can quickly share music and videos on their social networks, and voila! a hit is born without even getting much radio play.
Justin Bieber got his start on YouTube, with his single "Baby" making waves there before hitting radio. And Lana Del Rey's debut song, "Video Games," gathered millions of views on YouTube before being released on an album.
Radio is still important though. What starts buzzing on YouTube can then explode on radio. All of the three singles mentioned are now in regular rotation on that terrestrial plane.
Still, listening to summer hits on YouTube just doesn't seem the same to me. There was something about sitting outside with your friends down by the lake when the latest hit blasted out of the car stereo and suddenly everyone was screaming and dancing. Not quite the same when you deliberately go to YouTube searching for your favorite artist. Does anyone scream when a video starts playing? If so, that's weird.
Maybe I'm officially an old fogie. YouTube killed the radio star indeed! Here's the catchy tune of summer, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." Go ahead, scream and dance.