YouTube Eggs on Cover Song Overload

Allison Stubblebine, Music Editor

In the age often dubbed as the “YouTube Generation,” anything can be seen online by millions in a matter of seconds, all with a single click. This dramatically affects all areas of sharing information, from capturing political movements to sharing a small town band’s first tunes. While the overnight success of artists through YouTube is incredible, the ease of this platform has led to the inevitable oversaturation of the music industry.

At the start of high school, I was fascinated by the idea of being a YouTuber — a thought I am now quite embarrassed about — so I created a channel and uploaded song covers. While I never quite understood how to gain followers and subscribers (and ultimately failed at becoming an overnight sensation, sorry mom), so many artists have established a steady source of income through YouTube.

Back in 2012, Noah Guthrie, also known as YouTube user only1noah, uploaded an acoustic cover of LMFAO’s hit “Sexy And I Know It,” that garnered over 24 million views. Three short years later, Guthrie and his raspy vocals became members of the New Directions glee club on the anti-climatic final season of Fox’s “Glee.”

Slightly less known is pop-punk vocalist Patty Walters, who shot to fame through his re-worked versions of pop songs, most notably his cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” which has nearly three million views. His rise to YouTube stardom undoubtedly publicized his band, As It Is, who are now signed to Fearless Records.

The number of thriving YouTube musicians — Max Schneider, Against the Current, Pentatonix — continues to grow, and will only continue to grow. Nowadays, everyone has a channel and has posted the same tired cover, hoping that it will be their ticket to a massive fortune. For most of these hopefuls, the most their covers will get are a few likes on Facebook with compliments from obligated relatives. 

As artists flock to YouTube, rushing to upload the very first cover of a song that only came out a few moments ago, the website has quickly become oversaturated, and the excitement has worn off for those who watched it grow. The ante has been upped to the point where only the already successful can bring the wow factor for over-produced cover videos with elaborate sets and costumes. We end up having select few popular YouTube stars with high production values who keep adding views and subscribers, whereas all the rest becomes
white noise.

Email Allison Stubblebine at [email protected].