The classical way music artists go to become successful is to convince a music label. Afterwards, artists get their chance to convince millions of people with their music. The labels then contrive a marketing-strategy for the new artists and arrange live-concerts in front of small audiences, which are a good medium to give the world a first impression of the artists talent and style of music.
In the era of web 2.0, it goes the other way around: Through social media they can create their music career vast on their own and can profile themselves. Uploading a music video, e.g. on YouTube, and convincing millions of people can be the key to call the labels attention for so far unknown artists.
The music labels work has also changed: Scouts search for talents on social media platforms. On the basis of users feedback, they can analyze, whose music runs and so which artists they want to contract. But often the labels look for artists, who are really talented and already have a self-marketing-strategy. Using social media as a marketing channel has opened new gates for musicians to create the first buzz.
Made By Social Media = Success On Social Media?
YouTube can boost an unknown artist’s career, because the audiovisual network has a strong social impact. The fans have made the social media stars that popular as they are today. The YouTube talents have become that famous with mostly one video that has been spread all over the internet. Only some clicks at the beginning have increased to millions of clicks. The thing we’re talking about and which can be called the driver of the stars’ fame is the viral effect. A chain reaction that has been provoked by sharing the video with friends which have then shared it with other friends and so on. The talents and most of all their fans have created such a viral buzz through their activities on YouTube. But what about the other social networks, Facebook and Twitter? Are the social media made stars as active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as their fans have been? And how they’re doing today, some years after they’ve been discovered on social media?
In the following analysis we focus on some talented singers, who have been discovered from global artists or music labels on YouTube and are now driving more or less actively their social media performances. The chosen YouTube stars are some of dozens, but those names can be found on several lists of most popular YouTube stars. And most of all, they’re still earning money with YouTube.
Broadcasting Themselves: A Short Overview Of The YouTube Stars
Justin Bieber: People often forget that Bieber was also discovered on YouTube. The talent manager Scooter Braun came across Bieber’s videos and arranged a meeting with Usher Raymond. Bieber then signed a recording contract and started his career.
Lana Del Rey: Del Rey is a singer and songwriter since she’s 18 years old and has already published her first album in 2010. But her real success has begun in 2011 by posting her video “Video Games” on YouTube. Her second album, released some months later, has made an impact and was the fifth best-selling albums in whole 2012.
Soulja Boy: In 2007, DeAndre Cortez Way Aka. Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em has published his single “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” on YouTube and Myspace. The song directly earned millions of positive reviews. It later became a number one hit in the US. The rapper also promoted a simple dance move, which also pushed his popularity.
Greyson Chance: It’s quiet hard not to like this 15-year-old boy. His piano cover version of Lady Gaga’s hit “Paparazzi” was uploaded in 2010 and quickly earned millions of clicks. The buzz around the video finally reached Gaga herself, who directly loved and promoted Chance. He was then invited to the Ellen DeGeneres Show, later he was signed to DeGeneres label.
Tay Zonday: Born as Adam Nyerere Bahner, people got to know Tay in 2007 by watching his song “Chocolate Rain” on YouTube. His unique voice and his success on a show on Comedy Central has boosted his career. Beneath singing, he’s also an actor, comedian and an announcer. Today his most popular video counts nearly 95 million views.
Carly Rae Jepsen: Once an American Idol finalist, she started a career in 2008. But the real fame has started when Justin Bieber randomly heard her single “Call me maybe” on the radio. The song was already popular on YouTube, but Bieber gave Jepsen’s career a real boost by tweeting about her song. With a simple recommendation, the influential Bieber reached millions of people and called their attention for Jepsen.
Cody Simpson: He was 12 when he was discovered on YouTube by an US record producer. Cody’s video “One” has made him an overnight star.
The table gives a first overview of the ranking on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Having Justin Bieber in the list, the ranking is obvious: Bieber is a global artist with an immense fan community and is always on a top position. Therefore, you can often forget that Bieber’s fame has started on YouTube randomly.
With a huge distance, but also bigger fan bases, Carly Rae Jepsen, Soulja Boy, Lana Del Rey and others are following. And this fan base is enormous, thinking about the fact, that those singers once have been totally unknown and that mostly just one video has helped them to get people’s attention on the web.
|Carly Rae Jepsen
|Lana Del Rey
Social Start On YouTube: Are The Stars Still Shining On The Network?
First, we take a short look at the performance on YouTube during the last week to get an idea, if the stars are still a topic on social media. Furthermore, this snapshot shows what’s currently happening on the channels and which star has the biggest social impact in only some days. Of course, factors like record releases, concerts and other things also influence the results. Justin Bieber has the biggest subscriber community and gets thousands of users talking about him, maybe his recent concert in Australia drove even more engagement. Meantime, Lana Del Rey got more than 2 million views. So this week, the artist with the lovely voice leaves Bieber far behind. The increased number of views and the subscriber growth may result from Del Rey’s promotion for her new album. She’s actually intensifying her actions on Facebook and links to videos on YouTube to promote teasers for news songs. Also Simpson and Zonday register an increasing subscriber growth and many comments this week. And both are currently reaching Bieber’s level in case of views and comments. The buzz around Jepsen seems to be abated at the moment. But just a few days are able to change that.
Facebook Shows The Real Face Of The Social Media Stars
For the Facebook analysis, we’ve measured a longer time period to get deeper insights on the activities of the stars and their fans as well. In one year, the fan growth can give information about the stability of the social media stars’ success. An increasing fan base always indicates a constant interest in the artist and accordingly a constant career, which maybe includes a social media marketing strategy to win more fans and to attach current fans.
In this case, Carly Rae Jepsen had her success with “Call me maybe” in 2012, which have generated a lot of new fans. Afterwards, the buzz around the female artist abated. Since April this year, her fan base is increasing again and she reaches such a high growth as Bieber. The level of fan interactions is totally different on both fanpages, but their own actions are nearly similar with about 350 posts. Lana Del Rey’s social media career looks similar to Jepsen’s. New singles, new fans. Only Greyson Chance can’t reach the fan count of 2012 again in this year.
Zonday’s actions and those of his fans are on a low level, which make him lying far behind his YouTube colleagues.
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The radar gives an illustrated overview of the most relevant actions and shows the strengths and weaknesses of each star. A first look offers a rather dismal illustration of the Facebook activity. But it’s just the first look which make us think that Soulja Boy is the only star that regularly posts on Facebook. A closer look at the numbers indicate that the rapper posts hourly, whereas Bieber, Del Rey and the others post daily or weekly. During the measured time period of one year, Soulja Boy has published more than 16,000 posts. Bieber, who regularly posts on Facebook, can’t keep up with his 1,600 posts.
On the one hand, Soulja Boy gives a lot of input on his fanpage, but isn’t able to create a lot of interactions or make a lot of people talking about him. Stars like Bieber still generate the highest interactions without giving that input.
Lana Del Rey registers the highest interaction rate in the time period from November 2012 to November 2013. Greyson Chance, more unknown than Del Rey by far, also reaches a high rate. The other stars register interaction rates on a low, but constant level.
Generally, all of the YouTube artists don’t respond to any kind of user posts, although they allow users to post on their Facebook pages. But in the extreme case of Justin Bieber, which currently is one of the most famous artists worldwide, Bieber himself and his Facebook team wouldn’t come up answering all the user questions. Only in one month, Bieber registers 2,370 questions on his page.
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Taking a closer look at the single interactions sheds more light on the success of the Facebook activities. Bieber takes the top again with a huge distance to the other artists. Also the young Greyson Chance earns constant fan feedback on his posts. Tay Zonday has posted the double number of posts as Lana Del Rey, but can’t generate as much interactions on his posts than Del Rey.
Social Media Glitter On Twitter?
To complete the numeric analysis, we also have to take a look at the numbers on Twitter. Of course, Justin Bieber is followed mostly with a huge distance to the other social media stars. And Carly Rae Jepsen has a similar strong fan community on Twitter as she already has on Facebook. Refer to the mentions during the measured time period of one month, Bieber is the person of interest on Twitter. But Cody Simpson, who is still miles away from Bieber’s success, seems to be interesting, too. He reaches half the number than Bieber does. Launching a new album has made a contribution to Cody Simpson’s number of mentions and has created a strong viral buzz. Greyson Chance’s popularity seems to has declined during the year, because he lost more than 1,500 followers. But his loyal fans are active in mentioning him and retweeting his tweets.
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Twitter and Facebook are the most important social media channels. But the marketing success can look totally different on both networks. The measured time period is much smaller (one month), but nevertheless we see anomalies in the activities as well as in the interactions on Twitter. Lana Del Rey achieves the highest interaction rate on Twitter, but Bieber is mentioned mostly.
Tay Zonday gives a lot of input on Twitter by responding to each user question. Soulja Boy goes on with his non stop posting and tweets several times a day. With an increasing follower change rate, Carly Rae Jepsen’s popularity seems to grow on Twitter. With 50 tweets in one month, Jepsen constantly feeds her followers on Twitter. But in contrast to Facebook, a tweet is more short-lived than a post.
Already mentioned, Zonday responds to each user question. His YouTube colleagues don’t even show this ambition rudimentary. But, in case of Bieber and Del Rey, it’s the same situation like on Facebook: Answering to all questions is a never ending full time job.
Social Media Stars: Just A Short Buzz Or A Hot Fuzz?
Summing up, the great buzz might be over for some of the YouTube stars, but most of them are able to hold a constant level of action and interaction on social media. And their talent can always bring them back in play. Justin Bieber is the undisputed number one social media star, but artists like Cody Simpson or Lana Del Rey also have the talent to touch people with their music.
Social media can’t be missed in the marketing mix anymore, so most artists use this channel to promote themselves and their music. Staying in the music business directly means being present on social media. A launch of a new album can boost the social media engagement. Social media is an effective marketing channel, but the artists should be constantly active on several platforms to stay in people’s minds. As long as people are connected on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other networks, this buzz will reach them. And as long as the YouTube stars stay authentic and keep doing their music, people will like, share and virally spread their music.
A risk for those social media stars might be all the current and coming undiscovered stars, who are trying to promote themselves with a self made video. People have learned, that’s it’s pretty simple to become famous via social media. In the case of Bieber and other YouTube stars, random plays an important part. And at least, it’s all about real talent to stay in people’s minds and to run a real, steady career in the music business.
Are you a fan of a YouTube star, too? Who’s your favourite social media star? And do you remember how and when the viral buzz around certain stars have finally reached you? The next buzz will come, and so new stars will find their viral way to you through social media.