YouTube Music wants some serious artist success stories.
Last year, YouTube Music introduced its ‘Artist on the Rise’ series. The plan was to create an exclusive behind the scenes look at the journey each ‘YouTube artist’ takes as they first get started.
Given that this is Google/Alphabet, we’re surprised that the launch is still around. But instead of abandoning its latest pet project, YouTube Music is now growing Artists on the Rise and claiming early victories.
The series features interviews with artists and reactions to their first YouTube videos. It also showcases the artist’s evolution on the platform and connection with fans via YouTube.
It’s all about the ‘journey,’ a key buzzword for this initiative.
The first artist featured for 2019 is Maggie Rogers.
Rogers shares her journey leading up to the debut of her album, Heard It In a Past Life. She shares some of the first steps from her journey after deciding to be a musician, including pivotal moments like meeting Pharrell.
Other Artists on the Rise that will be featured in the 2019 series include Gunna, Dermot Kennedy, Half Alive, and Mau y Ricky. Incidentally, Gunna is also getting a serious push from Spotify — with the warring platforms both benefitting the emerging rapper (well played, team Gunna).
The YouTube series is being produced in partnership with Genius. Global Head of Music at YouTube Lyor Cohen says the series is the perfect platform for artists to connect with their fans.
“There’s no better platform than YouTube for artists to reach and connect directly with fans and through our new Artist on The Rise Content Series,” Cohen said. “We’re providing a way for emerging artists to share their unique journey with the fans that have been right there with them along the way.”
YouTube Music is already claiming victories — though of course, nothing big happens in a vacuum.
Jessie Reyez was the first Artist on the Rise, and the showcase followed her biggest debut to date. Ella Mai hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of 2018, and later won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. Perhaps YouTube can claim some of the credit for these emerging stories, though artists benefitting from the pushes aren’t arguing.
Perhaps YouTube is now angling for a big break-out that can clearly be traced back to Artists on the Rise. But outside of SoundCloud, those types of isolated breakouts are pretty rare.