Category: YouTube

Warner Music wants to strike chord with Generation Y on YouTube

The Warner SoundThis is definitely not your father's MTV.

Warner Music Group on Thursday unveiled plans for an online video channel on YouTube that will feature more than the usual music videos.

Instead, the New York music company is producing a host of original shows for the online channel, called The Warner Sound. Rather than highly produced cinematic shots of musicians lip-syncing their latest songs, Warner is taking a quirky, more experimental approach to video.

One series, called "Staged," takes lyrics from top Warner songs and presents them verbatim as the scripts for a video drama. Another show, "The Live Room," takes the cinema verite style to recording sessions with Warner artists.

"Finding Cody Simpson" is a variation of "Roger and Me" but with a technology twist -- viewers are able to decide where they want to go next in the main character's search for Cody Simpson, an Australian pop singer signed to a Warner label. It uses a "choose-your-adventure" feature offered by YouTube that lets viewers click on several options that would queue up the next video segment of the story. (Simpson, coincidentally, started his career by posting videos of himself singing "Cry Me a River" and other ballads on YouTube, where a record producer "discovered" him.)

Warner tapped television and cable TV veteran Ocean MacAdams to helm the channel's programming efforts. MacAdams was previously senior vice president of programming for Current TV and, before that, was senior vice president of editorial operations at MTV News.

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YouTube fine tunes music video recommendations

YouTube Chili Peppers Logo To get better in tune with its users, YouTube is revamping the way it serves up music videos.

The online video site on Thursday launched a redesign of its music page to provide more personalized recommendations, as well as more regular curated playlists from musicians and "tastemakers." YouTube has also added a Billboard Top 20 list that users can play in its entirety.

The idea is to help users discover music so they become more deeply engaged with the site -- not that YouTube really needs a leg up on its competition. The site has consistently been the top online video viewing destination for the last several years, beating out technology behemoths Microsoft and Facebook, as well as entertainment sites such as Hulu and Viacom.

Within YouTube, music videos are the most viewed category. Close to 40% of YouTube visitors watched a music video in July, more than any other type of video, according to ComScore, an online tracking firm.

When compared with television viewing, however, YouTube still has a lot of catching up to do. While the average TV household watches hours of TV a day, viewers of YouTube's top 20 channels spend just 23 minutes a month.

By hooking its users with music that's either endorsed by a celebrity or recommended to them based on what they like to listen to, YouTube hopes its viewers will stick around longer.

It's starting off with a "Quintessential Rock Playlist" from Red Hot Chili Peppers' lead vocalist Anthony Kiedis, who discusses his picks in this video:


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-- Alex Pham

Twitter/ @AlexPham

YouTube sensation Karmin stays prepared as record labels loom

YouTube sensations don't have much longevity outside of the site (unless you're Justin Bieber), but Karmin, the No. 8 most-viewed artist this month, seems to be overcoming that tendency.

With appearances on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and a recent onstage collaboration with the Roots, Karmin appears to be on its way. The group blends hip hop with acoustic balladeering to popular effect. We had a chat with the duo that make up Karmin, Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, on their recent rise in popularity and their plans for the future.

Pop & Hiss: So how did you two meet musically?

Amy: Musically, we came together at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Nick is actually from a small town in Maine called Old Town that has about 6,500 people, and I'm from Seward, Neb., which has about the same population -- so, small-town folks. Nick was a jazz trombone major and I was a vocal performance/songwriting major at Berklee. In 2004, we met each other, did a few songs together -- we did a Stevie Wonder tribute concert -- and, of course, he stared at me in all the rehearsals.

Nick: That's not true!

Amy: Then the year after that we actually started dating.  So before the music, we were a couple, and we're still a couple that have been together for six years.

Nick: Yeah, so we met up in '04, started dating in '05. Did some writing of stuff in '08, but nothing too crazy, and then formally started the group in January 2010.

So when did the band concept form?

Amy: We performed in a couple of different groups and realized how difficult it was for everyone to be on the same page.  You see bands like U2 that have been together forever, and it's so rare to find that. So, we were like, 'Hey, we make great songs together.' We'd heard that it was a bad idea as a couple to work together, so we were worried about that, but we just decided to jump into it.

Nick: As far as one definitive moment. ... We were in the Lowell train station, and we were around a bunch of other groups selling other people's projects, and we were like, 'Let's just do it ourselves. Let's just be a modern Simon and Garfunkel.  This acoustic, hip-hop duo.'

YouTube is a big part of getting you guys out there. You're part of that generation, but what caused it to become the driving force?

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Haitian President-elect Michel Martelly sure knows how to make a music video

Galope When the Haitian presidential race began in 2010, those outside the country's political arena might have laughed at the prospect of pop singer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly throwing his hat in the ring. After all, they wouldn't even take Wyclef Jean. Well, look who’s laughing now.

On Monday, the baldheaded crooner became Haiti’s president-elect, beating out opposition leader and former first lady Mirlande Manigat, capturing 68% of the vote, according to preliminary voting results. In our search to learn more about this famed pop-star-turned-politician, a longtime activist and political animal since the mid-'90s, we inevitably came across a silo of his old music videos.

If nothing else, they illustrate one very simple truth: the Haitian populace like politicians to have a little flair. In most countries, the sight of a Martelly, 50, hypnotizing us with his dance moves in neon summer wear could've been the fuschia-colored torpedo that sunk his career. Then again, maybe this kind of charming charisma, rhythmic aptitude and fondness for pink hats is just what natives in his disaster-torn country are looking for. Culled from the bowels of YouTube, we’ve dusted off a string of videos after the jump the feature Martelly parlaying his unbuttoned, early '90s swagger for all to enjoy.

 Photo: Michel Martelly   Credit: YouTube

--Nate Jackson

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Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga dominate YouTube in 2010


Whether to kill time during a lagging workday or to watch a spoof of a favorite music video, many of us have logged a great deal of time on YouTube this year.

As the video site substitutes for channels like MTV and BET that largely have traded in music videos for original programming and reality shows à la "Jersey Shore" (“Don’t applaud -- they are the reason they don’t play your videos,” comedian Chelsea Handler teased the audience at this year’s Video Music Awards), the site also has become the go-to destination for A&R suits looking to launch the next big pop star du jour.

With the year coming to a close, YouTube is rolling out a special channel, Rewind, which will give folks the chance to relive the videos, people and events that defined the site this year. And at this point, it's little surprise that some of the biggest stars of YouTube were discovered right there.

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