YouTube about to change drastically – things you should know

Independent career networking and promotion in the arts via YouTube is going to be changing drastically. Soon. Announced just days ago,

youtube-logo2“YouTube is preparing to radically change the site, adding a subscription service that is intended to help them compete in the streaming music industry. The Google-owned video site has already signed new licensing deals with all of the major labels, but many independents are refusing to take part.” (read more in the Forbes article by Hugh Macintire) and the subsequent post by Ellen Huet (keep sculling under the first article) in which she describes more directly what is happening:

“YouTube is launching a paid subscription streaming music service to compete with Spotify and Pandora later this summer. It will be integrated with the free, ad-supported YouTube users are used to, but with added features available to paying subscribers.”

As an arts administrator, I use YouTube daily for research and for audience development. I’m not exactly sure how this change will impact the tools for the trade. I use YouTube videos to help people get a sense for artists they’ve never heard of; musicians, dancers, spoken word, speeches. I link to videos frequently for relevant content on social media sites. Curating art content would be a huge hit if the independent artists I support are going to have new limits on how we get to know them in a virtual world. I’m wondering what local musicians are thinking.

Before any conversation though, I’m now looking up artists like Dina Hall, Not for Coltrane, Dave Fry (this is not his channel, but a really cool TEDx Talk he gave worth a listen)*, Philadelphia Funk Authority *, Jon Fadem, Large Flowerheads, Dave Doll (And his band Beautiful Distortion), Alisa B Anderson, …

Paul Salerni, Bill Warfield, Steven Sametz, Eugene Albulescu, Michael Jorgensen, and the list can go on to include all the performance faculty, composition students current and alumni…. or even precious videos of Lehigh University’s ensembles.

After that brief research exercise, I found some names listed above have their own channels, others were tagged so that I could easily find videos in which they appear. By golly, if the capacity to gather these sounds in order for their artistry to speak for itself is limited – we’re all going to have to rethink how we touch the music. How will this change our habits, our constant need to have everything available through the keystrokes of our devices? Might we actually see more live music and … PAY FOR IT?!?!?

Some reflection in view of my vinyl record collection is required. Maybe I’ll up my biannual contribution to public radio. Thoughts are running by so furiously – I’m not sure where to end this post. Maybe I’ll just stop typing and turn on some music I actually paid for.

[any and all thoughts and conversation welcome here or in person if you see me at the next Farmer’s Market in Campus Square, before a show at Godfrey Daniels, hanging around the Sun Inn Court Yard, the City Hall Sculpture Garden, Levitt Pavillion at Steelstacks or in the Zoellner lobby] Trust me – this issue is just as compelling as Net Neutrality.

Maybe John Oliver will do an episode on this, too.

* internet searching always gives me a few distractions that lead down unexpected rabbit holes. But they also trigger other ideas and connections. Like, the TEDxTalk I’m dreaming about – and the fact that the Philly Funk Authority is playing in the Sculpture Garden 6-8pm on Friday.

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