It is easy nowadays to publish a new song or video online and distribute the link.
If the music is good enough or the content scandalous/sexy enough the link will spread further. Major record companies’ A&R representatives need not listen to demo tapes anymore, they just keep an eye on the big communities online.
Here’s the Top 5 list of the world’s most fascinating artist breakthroughs online:
5. The Libertines
A fan named Helen Hsu published many recordings for free online before the band received wide recognition. Frontman Pete Doherty himself was tremendously active in online forums.
4. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Brooklyn-based Clap Your Hands Say Yeah first garnered attention from MP3 blogs in 2005, initially enjoying a favourable review from indie website Pitchfork Media. Their current releases are reaching mainstream sales levels.
3. OK Go
OK Go’s “homemade” video, a choreographed dance on treadmills, is considered to be the most downloaded music video online.
2. Arctic Monkeys
After fans created a MySpace page, the band’s first single propelled to No. 1 on British charts, and before even releasing a full-length album, Arctic Monkeys sold out large venues in the United Kingdom.
Wilco’s record company stopped its album release, saying it wasn’t “commercial enough.” The band released all tracks for free online, and it became a huge hit (and it was later released as an album).