Last night a VJ saved my life…

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YouTube recently introduced its ‘Get More Into’ series, where artists select videos that demonstrate their particular tastes. This insightful form of music video curation has so far seen the likes of Papa Vs Pretty, Foster The People and Josh Pyke delivering their favourite video playlists, which can include clips, live footage, even kookier rare footage like, er, Justin Bieber getting his haircut. YouTube music editor for Australia and New Zealand, Sophie Hirst, fills Cream in on a new online phenomenon. Interview by Antonino Tati.

 

The concept of artists selecting their own favourite tracks in audio form alone has proven popular in the form of the ‘Back To Mine’ compilation series. Do you think there will be a favourable following to the YouTube artist compilation concept?

Curation and personal recommendations have been popular for a long time, particularly when it comes to music. Curating music on YouTube is easy, and you can go far beyond the official music video for a musician. Artists and curators can add everything from interviews, to acoustic sets, to a video of Justin Bieber getting a haircut. Musicians in the last decade have used the web to push the boundaries of music as well as find new audiences, and they are taking that same energy to YouTube and getting really creative with video.
These particular YouTube playlists give us an inside look at what musicians are really into, from mashups (Pogo), favourite animation clips (Josh Pyke), to rebellious musicians (Foster The People). You couldn’t create a playlist like that if you were only lining up audio.
We’ve seen a great response to the ‘Get More Into’ series so far. DJ Pogo, one of our favourite local YouTube musicians, has had over 140K views on his playlist.

 

 

Will artists be restricted to a certain library of music videos to select from, or will they have total carte blanche to pick what they want?
We asked artists to choose the videos that best represent their own music passion. Because there is so much music content on YouTube, it’s easy for anyone to share what’s important to them. And anyone can make the same kind of playlist. You can start a new playlist from any video on YouTube by just hitting the “+ Add” button at the bottom of the video. With 60 hours of video added every minute, there’s a lot of content to choose from. 

 

Are artists allowed to pick their own videos and is there a limit to how many of their own product they can select?
For our ‘Get More Into’ series, the artists select the videos that demonstrate their particular tastes. The beauty of this is that it’s more powerful than, say, a 30-second ad for the release of a new video. You can listen to music and watch videos almost anywhere these days… We’re letting musicians connect with the YouTube community, in a language they understand.  

 

It’s an impressive selection of artists so far with Josh Pyke, Papa vs Pretty, Bluejuice and Art vs Science in the mix. What other artists can we expect to hear selections from?
We try to keep a balance of both local and international artists, and have been really excited about the great Australian bands so far. The summer season is huge for festivals, and we have an almost unlimited stream of international artists touring. So we managed to get some big global names involved like The Vaccines, Foster The People, The Horrors, M83, Chairlift, The Drums…
In terms of future artists, we’ve got a very long list of potential and willing participants. The YouTube community is always on the search for the next big act, and musicians see these playlists as a way to connect with their fans and basically talk about the things they love.
 

 

Do you think more people will start to connect their computers to home entertainment systems and hardware like projectors to get the full YouTube larger than life experience?
YouTube’s got tons of content in ultra HD 1080p that looks great on a projector or huge entertainment system. But more importantly, we want YouTube to be a good experience on whatever device you are using, wherever you are. If you’re at the office and start watching the playlist on your desktop, we want you to be able to view the next video on your smartphone when you’re on the train, then watch the next set on your big TV in brilliant high-def, and then finish up the last video while cuddled up in your bed on your tablet.

 

For some great reading on the concept of artist as curator, pick up a copy of Simon Reynolds’ ‘Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiciton To Its Own Past’. Of course, we trust many of YouTube’s video curators will be throwing some contemporary picks in the mix along with a little retro…