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The next big things in music got time in the YouTube livestream spotlight.
To close out 2014, YouTube celebrated the year in music on the platform by featuring a spate of up-and-coming performers who will likely dominate the mainstream in 2015.
The event at YouTube Space L.A. featured the best and brightest of YouTube’s homegrown talent. YouTube has grown to become the dominant force in music online, with an established mix between mainstream artists with major presences like Katy Perry or Pitbull and emerging artists using the platform to build a base before they leap onto the charts. Last night’s hourlong event featured some performers who’ve already made mainstream impressions, like duo Karmin and solo performer Tyler Ward, but it also showcased performers who are the talk of YouTube, bubbling under but not yet household names.
One standout performance was a collaboration between show producer Kurt Hugo Schneider and performers Sam Tsui, Alex G, and Madilyn Bailey. The foursome did the first ever live rendition of “Epic Patty Cake,” a video that has notched 6.7 million views. Each of those performers went on to wow in their own solo segments as well. Tsui has been a fixture on YouTube for some time, but earlier this year broke 18 million views on a Passenger/Frozen mashup performance. He was followed by Alex G performing “Growing Up,” the title track from her recently renamed solo album; Bailey, who mixes vlogging and music on her channel, also performed “Ballgowns and Broken Crowns.”
Other standout performers poised for breakthrough in 2015 included Megan Nicole and Kina Grannis, who both performed new original tracks (“Fun” and “My Dear,” respectively), despite both also performing covers extensively on their YouTube channels. Another cover artist turned original star is Max Schneider, whose soulful, dance-y rendition of “Mug Shot” easily got the crowd behind him. An earlier version of the single was featured in the Veronica Mars movie this year, and Schneider is also featured on two Hoodie Allen tracks.
Over the night, the performers boasted a combined YouTube footprint of over 17 million fans, and most of them have never charted a song or had major radio airplay. We suspect that will change in 2015.
Screengrab via YouTube Spotlight/YouTube
A former YouTube reporter for the Daily Dot, Rae Votta has more than a decade of experience in the digital and entertainment industries. Her work has appeared on AOL, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Logo, VH1, Current TV, Billboard, and NYMag. She joined Netflix in 2016.