Over the past 3-5 years, the number of influences trying to make money from creating content has risen, many being vloggers which if you aren’t aware means video blogger. This content is typically low budget, easy and quick to make allowing for almost a constant stream of videos.
Due to the character lead nature of the videos many young people are attracted to these vloggers viewing them as their online best friend, unfortunately, a large number of vloggers quickly realised there was a lot of money to be made from their young and impressionable audiences. Books, clothing, makeup, homeware, tours and even doormats if you sink as low as Zoella.
One thing that seems to be on the rise as of late is youtuber music, spoiler alert most of it is pure horse shit. With many of these artists never having expressed any desire to make music it becomes very clear that this is just another thing they can sell, we’re in 2018 autotune can make anyone a pop star.
Youtubers biggest twat Jake Paul has 720k monthly listeners which is actual mental considering he’s not a musician. He’s brought us the gems that are ‘It’s everyday bro’, ‘Ohio Fried Chicken’ ‘That ain’t on the news’ a track that hears him just reel of every nice thing he’s ever done. You’ve then got Ricegums dis-tracks and Tana Mongeau trying to rap about how she want’s to be Hugh Hefner bragging about how she can count higher than 21 and how she’s sorry she’s rich and you’re not.
There is not an ounce of musical talent between all these vloggers turned musical superstar yet they are still getting more streams and selling more tour tickets than real artists. You only need to watch a video of one of their live performances to see what I’m talking about, they can’t even try to hold the mics to their mouths to make it look like their singing yet the crowds still lap it up.
Straying away from that side of just pure trash you have youtubers that are coming out with half decent tracks, not something I’m into by any account but ones that are trying a little harder. Take ‘The Gabbie Show’, to date she has released 4 tracks lyrically they do have a level of depth to them, a little cheesy for me personally but production is pretty smooth, however, she does not have the most pleasant of voices.
She has 749k monthly listeners, she would not have that if she wasn’t a YouTuber, her music is average and performed live the tracks do not hold up, her ravenous fanbase is not streaming it because they love the track, they are streaming it because they love her. Something Jon from the youtube channel ARTV always talks about separating the art from the artist and in a case like this without the artist the art wouldn’t thrive.
I think where my problem lies with this is that music is just being used as just another thing to sell, many of these people have little interest in making music, they want to make money when they’ve already done the books, clothing etc. There are so many genuine artists out there that would kill for the numbers and money these guys have. Kids are just being fed this and made to believe that this is music, they are so young that they blindly follow. I am genuinely concerned about the future of the industry is people like Lele Pons are signing major record deals off the back of making a few videos and having a large following.
This is something that had been playing on my mind for a while now but what finally pushed me to write this post was the release of vlogger Emma Blackerys debut album ‘villains’.
Emma Blackery has been making videos for years now, she does a lot of comedy skits vlogs but something she has done from the beginning is cover videos as well as performances of original tracks. She released her first EP ‘Distance’ back in 2013.
Given the first part of this post this may come as a shock to you but I have a lot of respect for Emma as an artist. The way I see her is as a musician that has a strong online presence not the other way around, she’s not making music because she happens to have a platform and millions of fans, she’d be doing it regardless.
So the album… I’m going to start of super straight and say it’s not for me, I didn’t think it would be but I went in with an open mind and realised that it’s not my cup of tea. That doesn’t mean that I think it’s terrible.
Every track on here has the potential to have commercial success individually, no doubt about it, the production is done well to create very warm and polished tracks. There’s not as much organic instrumentation as I’d hoped considering Emma can play guitar and is known to pull inspiration from Paramore. While these tracks are heavily computer made they’re not repetitive, not just beats and as a result, there are some really strong moments of texture on this. ‘Petty’ has some nice acoustic strings intertwined that was a strong point for me.
Lyrically this album falls short in places for me personally, particularly in the tracks ‘Dirt’ and ‘Fake Friends’ there’s references to keeping receipts and spilling tea, that is something that I feel pulls the tracks down and could cause them to become very aged sounding very quickly. However, this album is very honest on Emma’s behalf and she does live a large portion of her life on the internet so these phrases may have just slipped subconsciously into her vocabulary.
It’s a very angsty album and at points, I did feel like a break was needed as the same narrative of broken relationships spilt throughout the tracks but Emma has been open in saying this album was written over the course of a year so it’s expected for them all to come from a similar place. Personally, I feel like if she’d spent another year just churning out words she would have been left with a more varied pool of tracks of which to choose the best from but I do understand her eagerness to get it out and share.
Vocally Emma’s strong on this, no heavy autotune made for an authentic sound, Villians Pt.1 had a bit of a Lana Del Rey mystery to it that I really enjoyed, however, I felt at points her vocals lacked a bit of maturity and weight this stood out to me on ‘Agenda’ a track that I really didn’t enjoy, the spelling part on this struck me as a little messy.
There is one track on this that I am fully behind and I’d even go as far as saying I love is the dreamy ‘Icarus’ lyrically it shines, the vocals are effortless and it’s just beautifully minimalistic and fluffy. Without a doubt one that I will be coming back to for a long time.
Emma is an example of a youtuber doing it right yet she only has 179k monthly listeners which is a real shame but her music will live on for a lot longer than others and at the end of the day that’s what’s important.
Also, big up Emma for releasing the album on vinyl, She’s opening up the world of vinyl to a much younger audience who may not have been interested otherwise.
I guess that I’m just really passionate about music and believe that we should be focusing on the people they are genuine and push the ones that aren’t. There’s amazing music of all genres, I’m not saying that my choices are superior in any way because I am very aware that my musical taste isn’t for everyone but I do urge people to look a little further because there are real gems out there and artists that will welcome you with open arms.