Befitting the Google-owned video site, with its roots in person-generated clips, lyrics movies started as fan-posted songs with the words displayed and little other visual ornament. The watershed second for mainstream, music-business adoption of the type came in 2010 with Cee-Lo Green’s video for his breakout hit, which editorial standards preclude CNET from spelling out explicitly. Since then, lyrics movies have snowballed from grassroots pastime to outright phenomenon.
More than trade fad, the category reflects how streaming, and specifically YouTube, is turning into the go-to place to listen to music first and repetitively. Some artists and insiders say it might also be feeding the need for a particular facet of expression for artists and need for immersion for fans that the digital transition has lost as album artwork and file sleeves fade into obscurity.
More and more, YouTube viewers are turning the massive video site into their very own personal DJ. Of the 100 most watched movies on YouTube, ninety six of them are music. (The ones that aren’t could best be categorized as weird viral anomalies.) The Google site is poised to take advantage of its own sheer pressure in the music industry by launching it is own Spotify-like rival subscription streaming service, reportedly called YouTube Music Key.
“Fans use YouTube because the radio as we transfer into a music-streaming culture,” said Danny Lockwood, senior vice president of creative and video manufacturing at Capitol Music Group, a part of Universal. “Typically, the animated lyric video video is the primary piece of content to be released — as it’s quicker and less expensive to provide — and if it turns into the predominant place to listen to the official version of the tune, fans will click on that piece of content multiple times just to listen to the music.”
Up to now few years, streaming services have grow to be recorded music’s brightest spot of income growth. Final 12 months, income from subscription and streaming companies rose fifty one % to prime $1 billion for the primary time, based on the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. These gross sales countered a slide in sales of bodily goods resembling CDs and a slight decline in digital music download revenue.
Lyrics videos have ridden the identical wave.
YouTube said that it hosted about two days worth of lyrics-video content material — clips with “official audio” in the title — within the first eight months of 2011. In the same period this year, that quantity jumped to eighty one days, accounting for 590 million views this 12 months alone. Searches for “official audio” and “lyric video” have skyrocketed. Vevo, the web music-video service partly owned by major labels and YouTube itself, had fewer than 400 lyrics movies in its library through the tip of 2012. Now it has 5 occasions as many.
For its Video Music Awards in August, MTV picked “Best Lyric Video” as its socially chosen award class, in which fans could decide the winner by voting by means of Twitter, Vine or Instagram. The previous yr, when the category was “Best Track of the Summer season,” MTV received 11.eight million votes. This 12 months, the network obtained 166.2 million votes for the highest lyric video.