YouTube announced this week a new partnership with Sirius XM radio that will broadcast its most popular videos, streaming the current YouTube hits into homes and cars across the nation. The deal can be seen as a new platform for emerging artists, or another example of a big business circus act, watering down quality, and disseminating music void of artistic integrity.
The YouTube 15, debuting on July 11 on the Sirius XM Hits 1 channel, will play a selection of songs getting the most attention on YouTube. During an interview with Reuters, Scott Greenstein, president and chief content officer for Sirius XM said this week that the playlist will reflect "what's trending and very popular."
The show will be hosted by Jenna Marbles, whose viral videos on YouTube helped raise her subscribers to 13 million. Videos on her channel include “Girl Crushes,” “How to Trick People into Thinking Your Rich,” and “Dog Finger Painting.”
The partnership will create a new platform for all artists, with the airplay dependent upon viewership, and the most trending videos. As American Idol did for television, YouTube seems to be attempting to do for radio, with the most popular videos hitting the airwaves. In 2013 the top video on YouTube was “Gangam Style”, with over 2 billion views.
In a society that has seen the shrinking of the music industry, the closing of local record shops across the country, and the bankruptcy of independent music labels, this partnership may be another sign of the changing of how music and art is developed and distributed in America.
If successful, YouTube, which is owned by Google, will possibly be contributing to the new model for artistic expression, not necessarily based on talent, but based on short lived popularity.