Canadian singer Jessie Reyez sings about her dreams of rising to the upper ranks of music and YouTube hopes its new marketing campaign will play a role getting her there.
The streaming video giant says it’s picked the Juno Award-winning singer as its inaugural YouTube Artist on the Rise, a multi-platform publicity push that launches Friday.
The new monthly program selects a musician YouTube deems “up-and-coming” and puts a massive promotional thrust behind them. It’s an effort by YouTube to catch the wave of new acts and help build further momentum behind them in the increasingly cluttered world of streaming music.
Toronto-raised Reyez is considered one of the rising stars of Canada’s music industry. Her single Figures climbed the country’s pop music charts last year and she’s worked alongside big names such as Calvin Harris and Eminem.
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But getting placed on a YouTube pedestal is almost certain to skyrocket awareness for her music with mainstream listeners.
YouTube says it will launch a marketing campaign for each Artist on the Rise that includes commercial spots before YouTube videos, physical advertisements on billboards and public transit, and clips about the artist produced by the streaming company.
Each chosen performer will also appear in ads on social media and in-person for fan events held at YouTube’s creator studios in various cities.
Tech giants compete with music
The plan comes as competition heats up in the streaming music industry, including at YouTube’s parent company, which also owns Google Play Music.
Big companies like Spotify and Tidal have put considerable effort behind trying to stand out from their streaming peers by showcasing hot new acts and offering exclusive content.
Last summer, Apple Music elevated Daniel Caesar through its monthly “Up Next” program, which included giving the Toronto R&B singer prime positioning on playlists and a billboard advertising campaign in some cities. The featured placement was pivotal in creating buzz around his name.
YouTube spokeswoman Nicole Bell declined to outline the financial details of its Artist on the Rise program, but called the commitment “significant.”
Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music and a former executive at Def Jam, said the relationship will extend beyond the initial featured spot as an Artist on the Rise.
“We’re going to stay connected to the artist throughout their career — for better or worse,” he said.
“We’re not one-and-run. We’re going to be basically white-gloving [them].”
YouTube said the details of how its long-term commitment to Reyez and future Artists on the Rise is still being determined.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that YouTube is bringing its ad-free video platform to Canada, throwing itself into the ring with other subscription services like Netflix and CraveTV.
YouTube Premium, originally known as YouTube Red in the United States, will be home to original productions like The Karate Kid spinoff series Cobra Kai, as well as original movies and documentaries.
It will cost $11.99 per month and launch in Canada in the coming weeks.
YouTube Music is a new streaming audio service that incorporates official artist releases with YouTube’s library of live performances, covers and music videos. The playlists and suggestions are curated for each user. It will cost $9.99 a month.