Pogo is one of the longest standing musicians on YouTube. His history with the site shows how the relationship between YouTube and independent music has evolved.
Here is why Pogo’s music was perfect for YouTube and what musicians can learn from it.
1. His first hit exemplifies his genre.
YouTube is a giant website now, with more people watching it than any other entertainment network. Therefore, it makes sense to upload some music to YouTube to tap into that giant audience. This wasn’t always the case, however. In fact, when Pogo made his first hit on YouTube, it was more because YouTube was the perfect host for it.
First uploaded in 2007, Pogo’s “Alice” was more than just a song. It was an example of what YouTube was capable of. “Alice” chopped and mixed samples from the movie Alice in Wonderland to make a catchy beat. Its hypnotic video could only reach its full potential on a site like YouTube.
The audience for a project like this is diverse and therefore may not have been reached it on any other site. It also showed people that YouTube is perfect for independent art projects such as this.
2. His work became the beginning of something larger.
Pogo’s concept is simple and repeatable. Anyone with experience in music production and video editing could do the same.
Shmoyoho, now one of YouTube’s most notable musicians, took Pogo’s style and added a satirical twist. Their popular series “Songify The News” is a staple on YouTube. When the series began, YouTube was just the first step for viral videos. A video had to be shared off the website to really become successful. “Songify The News” was perfect for that, hitting all the marks for political satire which at the time was the most fruitful form of comedy.
Without Pogo paving the way, Shmoyoho might not have chosen a platform such as YouTube for his work. Both have certainly made strides on YouTube that inspire other artists to turn to the site for their marketing needs.
3. Pogo switched directions and diversified.
Being a musician on YouTube, especially one as immersed in the culture as Pogo, means creating some content that strays from the typical music video.
Pogo has adopted the podcast forum to talk about music and video editing. He has also begun livestreaming as a way to open up to fans and show a little of his behind the scenes magic. He has even created tutorials for how to create his style of music using common electronic producer equipment.
Some of his new videos have even adopted a new style, similar to Shmoyoho’s, in which the lyrics actually make sense and the video includes video of himself lipsyncing to the song. The new style may attract a new audience. Even if it is only appreciated by those who were already fans, it shows that his style is growing and evolving.
Pogo’s approach to music was perfect for YouTube. YouTube provides transparency for musicians, and they celebrate independent music such as Pogo’s.
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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching YouTube videos or teaching math, he’s jamming out to funky music.