The shocking rise of YouTube lyrics movies

Befitting the Google-owned video site, with its roots in person-generated clips, lyrics movies began as fan-posted songs with the words displayed and little other visible ornament. The watershed second for mainstream, music-business adoption of the type got here in 2010 with Cee-Lo Green’s video for his breakout hit, which editorial requirements preclude CNET from spelling out explicitly. Since then, lyrics videos have snowballed from grassroots pastime to outright phenomenon.

More than industry fad, the class reflects how streaming, and specifically YouTube, is turning into the go-to position to hearken to music first and repetitively. Some artists and insiders say it might also be feeding the necessity for a specific aspect of expression for artists and need for immersion for fans that the digital transition has lost as album art and record sleeves fade into obscurity.

More and more, YouTube viewers are turning the massive video site into their own personal DJ. Of the 100 most watched videos on YouTube, ninety six of them are music. (The ones that aren’t could best be categorized as weird viral anomalies.) The Google site is poised to take advantage of its own sheer pressure within the music trade by launching it is personal Spotify-like rival subscription streaming service, reportedly called YouTube Music Key.

“Fans use YouTube because the radio as we move into a music-streaming tradition,” mentioned Danny Lockwood, senior vice president of artistic and video production at Capitol Music Group, a part of Universal. “Often, the lyric video is the first piece of content material to be launched — as it’s faster and less costly to provide — and if it turns into the predominant place to listen to the official version of the track, fans will click on on that piece of content a number of instances just to hear the music.”

Up to now few years, streaming companies have change into recorded music’s brightest spot of revenue growth. Last yr, revenue from subscription and streaming companies rose 51 % to top $1 billion for the primary time, in keeping with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. These sales countered a slide in sales of physical items resembling CDs and a slight decline in digital music download revenue.

Lyrics movies have ridden the same wave.

YouTube said that it hosted about two days worth of lyrics-video content material — clips with “official audio” in the title — within the first 8 months of 2011. In the identical interval this yr, that amount jumped to eighty one days, accounting for 590 million views this yr alone. Searches for “official audio” and “professional lyric video maker video” have skyrocketed. Vevo, the web music-video service partly owned by main labels and YouTube itself, had fewer than 400 lyrics movies in its library by way of the top of 2012. Now it has five occasions as many.

For its Video Music Awards in August, MTV picked “Best Lyric Video” as its socially chosen award category, in which fans could decide the winner by voting via Twitter, Vine or Instagram. The previous 12 months, when the category was “Best Song of the Summer time,” MTV acquired 11.8 million votes. This year, the network obtained 166.2 million votes for the highest lyric video.