Musicians find fame and fortune at YouTube

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YouTube is proving to be a powerful launch pad for a new generation of Internet-savvy music stars from Psy to Macklemore and beyond.

The Google-owned video-sharing website has catapulted Psy, Macklemore, Justin Bieber and others onto global stages where they can cash in on digital downloads of songs; packed concerts; online ads, or even sponsored music videos.

“Music has always been a universal language, and YouTube is a perfect platform to build community around the energy that is music,” said Vivien Lewit, artists attorney turned YouTube music content partnerships director.

“It crosses territories; people in the US have access to what Psy is doing in Korea,” she continued. “It’s not just him. The boundaries have come down and other artists have broadened the horizon.”

After racking up more than a billion views of his ‘Gangnam Style’ music video at YouTube, Psy used the website to debut a new ‘Gentleman’ clip in April that had logged more than 275 million views as of Sunday.

Psy, a 35-year-old South Korean rapper born Park Jae-sang, is reported to have earned more than eight million dollars by capitalizing on the Gangnam Style video at YouTube.

YouTube splits ad revenue from popular music videos with performers but does not disclose figures.

“Thousands of individual creators make more than $100,000 per year,” Lewit told AFP. “Not only do they make money through their own uploads of video, they make money every time a fan uploads.”

YouTube lets music owners provide reference files of songs that the website uses to scan for matches in uploaded videos.

When matches are found, the owner of the music can opt to make money from ads, track where the songs go, or block it.

YouTube has paid the record industry more than a half billion dollars in the past two years from ad revenue, according to Lewit.

Lindsey Stirling went from obscurity to celebrity after putting her captivating mix of dance and classical violin on stage at YouTube.

More than two million fans now subscribe to the 26-year-old California artist’s YouTube channels.

Her self-released debut album sold about 108,000 copies as a digital download and she has been touring almost non-stop since its release late last year. Her European tour has sold out.

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