September 17, 2008
No Video, No Problem for Artists on YouTube
By Jonathan Landrum Jr.
ATLANTA - When Ludacris' manager wanted to create buzz for his client's upcoming CD, he went directly to YouTube.com. But instead of releasing a flashy video for Ludacris' song "Let's Stay Together," Chaka Zulu just uploaded the track directly to the site with just a picture of the rapper as accompaniment.
"You actually get to visualize the music," said Zulu, who is also co-founder of Ludacris' Disturbing tha Peace label. "Even if it's not a real video, music is emotion. Music has a concept and theme."
Though YouTube is known as the Internet's greatest video warehouse, it's becoming known as the place to find new music, no video needed. Put in the name of your favorite artist and there's chance that besides an assortment of their videos, you'll find a song with perhaps just a picture or a montage of photos to accompany it - and it still gets thousands of views.
If anyone wants to hear Akon's remake of Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Starting Something," it's there. Someone yearning for the new Guns N' Roses track "Shackler's Revenge" or T.I.'s new release "Live Your Life" featuring Rihanna, all it takes is a quick search of their name and song title. No problem. While some of the songs are posted directly by an artist's camp, others are uploaded by fans eager to share and discuss new music by their favorite act.
DJ Sickamore, who was director of A&R at Atlantic Records for two years and now has his own entertainment management company, says YouTube is a simpler way to listen to music on the Internet.
"Other file hosting sites have too many steps," said DJ Sickamore. "If I like a song, I can hear it instantly without any problems. You definitely have to take advantage of this tool."
Zulu first noticed the power of YouTube sans video two years ago when he posted Ludacris' song "War with God" with just the rapper's picture as a visual on the site. Soon after, Zulu's BlackBerry was bombarded with text messages.
"It had the Internet going crazy," recalled Zulu. "I was getting tons of messages about how they loved it. I didn't know that many people heard it.
"It's a viable marketing tool for us now," he added.
Country star Taylor Swift has also caught on. For the upcoming November release of her sophomore CD "Fearless," Swift, along with her label, hopes to create a picture or video montage for each of the CD's tracks for YouTube. So far, she's enjoyed checking out the fan-created postings of her songs on YouTube.
"It's like having another video," said Swift, 18. "For me, it's a chance to see someone else's take on my music. I embrace that and think it's cool."
Originally published by The Associated Press.
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