Wednesday, April 11, 2012

YouTube Killed The Radio Star

Worst YouTube video ever: "It's So Cold In Tha D"
I was talking to a friend of mine recently (M&M) and he brought up something I'd never considered before: YouTube Killed the Radio Star.

As recently as the 90's, one had to have talent in order to have an opportunity to be called a "star" or "an artist." Those days are long gone. Now, all a person needs is a camera and a YouTube account. It doesn't matter how well you play or sing. It only matters if you're trendy enough to "go viral."

There were two televised talent shows that I remember watching a lot while growing up: "Star Search" and "Showtime at the Apollo." Those were basically the only two options of being seen in the world in hopes of becoming a music legend. You even had to beat the odds just in order to make it as a contestant on one of those shows. Now, there is no direct competition to getting an opportunity to be seen. There is no more "8 Mile" as "M&M" said. There's no more separating the best from the wack. There's no more school talent show to see who's good enough for regional, good enough for state, good enough for a national contest.

So, there's no way to weed out the non-talented from the talented. If you want an opportunity to share your skills (or lack thereof) to the world, just shoot a video. It's free and it's easy. Ask this guy...

When I first saw this video, I thought it was a Chappelle Show skit. It was almost a week before someone convinced me that it was supposed to be a serious video. Over 8 million hits for his rapping "skills." Now, I'm not sure how many of these millions watched this because they thought Yung Humma had talent. I'm also not sure how many millions watched this because someone sent them there for a good laugh (I fall into this group). People get on YouTube, rap/sing and then parade around like stars. And some people are crazy enough to believe that they are stars simply because of the number of hits that they have.

M&M was onto something when he brought up this concept and if you want more of his "M&M'isms" then check him out here. Now, don't get me wrong. There are some extremely talented people on YouTube who rap, sing and even act. There's Issa Rae, Real Dondada and this young lady below who goes by the name "Jane Doe." The problem is that they can't always get traction on page hits because people like the Numa Numa guy and Why Must I Cry guy get all of the attention. After all, Americans love a train wreck.

So, if you're going to check out YouTube videos for performing artists, then do us all a favor: please show your support for real talent, like Jane Doe, and give a thumbs up. And for the "Lemme Smang It" types, please thumb them down so the rest of us can be forewarned. Let's focus on real talent and not gimmicks. I can only take so many Nicki Minaj songs.

Be sure to give Jane Doe a thumbs up if you appreciated her vocal talents.

Do you think YouTube has dumbed down our expectations of talent?


  1. Q, I found you through Sonia at Logallot. Great blogger spotlight.

    I agree that YouTube has evolved the landscape of creatives, and I agree that "thumbs upping" Jane Doe is a powerful move.

    The way I see it, the world's always been filled with talent that no one knows, because mass-appeal and large-scale success requires WAY more than just talent.

    Talent is the baseline (and is subjective and debatable anyway).

    P.S. To me, Nicki Minaj is fantastically talented woman, and not just with rap, freestyle, and pop hooks, but she's talented at branding (easier said than done), networking (ditto), fashion, and more.

    1. You're right. Nicki Minaj has marketed herself tremendously and she should be credited for that. There is a market for her style of performing, but I've reached the age where I can't tolerate gimmicks. LOL! Growing up in the golden age of rap gives me certain expectations that I have a hard time shaking when judging the lyrics in her music. But, again, to be fair, her success should be applauded.

      I think YouTube is a great spot for up-and-comers, but it seems that the people who lack talent get just as much as attention of the ones who possess it.

      Thanks for stopping in and I should also thank Sonia for sending you! :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I was so terrified when I saw the screen capture for this post that it was going to be that god awful video again and that I was going to have to enlist Lady T to kick you in the taint. I'm thrilled that isn't the case.

    I'm torn here. There are some people who have attained fame from youtube who are incredibly talented and probably would have never been discovered had it not been for that media outlet. On the other hand there are horrible offensive, ear shattering, make you pray for deafness, "artists" on there too that are beyond reprehensible.

    Do you take the bad with the good? I think it is time to realize that the was we listen to music, read, watch movies,etc is changing. The internet, ereaders, netflix, etc are changing the way we do things and how quickly we can gain access to these once hard to attain mediums. No longer do we have to wait for an LP to drop when they have live versions popping up on youtube, or wait for a hardback to turn paperback before saving some $ buying a book...nope, ereader it is. Find a video rental store (good luck with that)...nope, just hook into your Xbox and there's your movie. Love that song from American Idol last night...jump in iTunes, buy it and thereby vote for that artist!

    It will never be the same again.

    1. My taint is thankful. You're right, it has changed. However, it's allowed the not-so-talented to be included with the talented and I'm unsure if that's good or not. Justin Beiber may have still been discovered and Rebecca Black would still be undiscovered. We'll never know.

      All I know is that I personally see 10 bad singers for every decent singer on YouTube. I guess I need to get used to that.


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