YouTube celebs: what the hell is going on?
But I’ll pass, thanks. What is it with all these “celebrity” kids with millions of subscribers anyway? Get off my lawn!
Stateside by Chris Smith
or how to get a sound, but they knew what sound they were looking for, and they showed me how to market, and the growing influence of urban culture. “Pop”, whether it’s Lady Gaga or Eminem, is such a powerful force – no other music genre is so influential. You might have millions of country music fans, but it doesn’t change the way people talk.
Result: a marriage made in heaven. This unique marketing perspective to pop culture, creating a demand for high-quality headphones among kids who had never heard proper low, punchy bass before. We had guys like Lil’ Wayne, P Diddy and David Guetta, influencers to millions of kids. We collaborated and it was 1+1=5; or, in this case, US$3 billion.
The thing is, we’d had stars endorse product before but it never really worked, yet Dre was different. He had amazing credibility because he’d never endorsed anything before this headphone. Authenticity is everything.
The way I look at it today is you should have somebody but you don’t need a lot, you just need one star. Social media is more important – are you going to believe your friends and the community, or am I going to believe somebody who’s getting paid to say something about the product? Kids today are very savvy.
Now, people say the headphone business is too full and it’s going to stagnate, implying Apple has paid too much for Beats. But I’d say it was a good price because the market is actually going to get a lot bigger.
Why, you ask? The percentage of people who own phones and tablets that also own headphones is less than three per cent. The big game changer is the boom in streaming; the music is basically free. Users might have to deal with a commercial, but as less than 10% opt for the premium, ad-free service, obviously they don’t really mind them – they just want music free and of high quality.
If iOS 8 recognises high resolution music files, that’s a game changer, too. If Apple encourages Beats Audio to do more highresolution stuff with its streaming service, you’re not going to listen to that on a white earbud, you’re going to need something higher quality. Other companies that want to do what Monster does and what Beats did? They don’t have the engineering to get to the next level. Noel Lee is founder and CEO of Monster Cable Products Inc; monsterproducts.com
Full disclosure: I had a bit of a minor run in with YouTube recently. While writing about the site’s failings, I asserted confidently that its stars aren’t proper celebs like those I loved growing up.
The reply from one of Google’s Earthly representatives was swift: “Yes they bloody are,” he said (I’m paraphrasing), before serving up a laundry list of reasons I was wrong.
It was a good point and it was well made: according to a recent Variety study, YouTube celebs are actually more popular than mainstream icons among US teens. In fact, the top five names cited by 13-18 year olds were all YouTubers, who beat out old-schoolers including
“Dre and was amarriage made in heaven was 1 +1 = $3 billion
Monster . It
Katy Perry, Jennifer Lawrence and Seth Rogen.
Among these latterday Sinatras are TheFineBros, a comedy duo who have ten million subscribers and amassed two billion video views. A sort of meta YouTube celebrity act, they post (admittedly well-produced) videos where other YouTube stars I’ve never heard of offer reactions to music videos by acts I’ve also never heard of.
They laugh at old people – who I am beginning to suspect include me – using the Oculus Rift and Google Glass and shoot – to be fair, relatively funny – original sketch comedy. As a result, they have an empire built on YouTube ad revenue, owning an independent studio and creating content for Comedy Central, Warner Bros. BBC America and MTV.
They’re by no means alone. Tyler Oakley is a quintessential YouTube personality. He’s got plenty of sass, tremendous hair and over 5.5 million subscribers. He recently landed a gig as a red carpet reporter at the MTV VMAs for Entertainment Tonight, sits atop the iTunes Podcast chart, and just won an online entertainer of the year award. Oh, and earlier this year was summoned to the White House, where he and other viral video masters were asked by President Obama to push his healthcare initiative. He’s 25.
How about Evan from EvanTube HD? His kid-friendly channel reviews games and toys and has its own dedicated ad-sales team. Even after YouTube’s jacked its 45 per cent cut, Business Insider reckons he could earn up to $1.32m this year. He’s seven.
Also bigger in America than Kate Bush multiplied by The Beatles is Bethany Mota, a “bubbly” – OMG! I soooo want to use the words, like, “totally annoying” right now, you guys, but I won’t! – fashion vlogger. She’s going to be on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars alongside Carlton from The Fresh Prince and Chong out of Cheech and Chong, no less, has her own fashion line with the Aéropostale label and is on the cover of this month’s Seventeen magazine. She’s 19.
What’s striking is that I had to go and research all of these names, while to anyone under the age of about 26 they’re as well known as Obama, if not more so. It’s a galling sign that I’m now officially old. But you know what? It’s something I can live with.