YouTube hopes to make music video releases suspenseful again with new premiere feature

Turning music video premieres into a collaborative experience

On-demand music video streams just keep increasing, with a 21.9 per cent jump in 2017 and a 24.3 per cent jump in 2018, according to BuzzAngle. YouTube product management employee Kurt Wilms explained to the Rolling Stone that his team is currently developing YouTube premiers, where the video’s creators and viewers can communicate with other fans while all watching the same video at the same time.

“We knew that a lot of viewers were coming to YouTube right when artists were dropping videos and watching them, but even though everyone was coming at the same time, it was kind of a lonely moment for viewers,” Wilms explained. “They weren’t able to interact with each other, and they weren’t able to interact with the artist.”

YouTube’s data shows that when a creator premieres an upload, it performs much better than normal uploading, so many stars have already adopted the feature, including Halsey, Cardi B, 21 Pilots, and Ariana Grande, who released her blockbuster videos for “Thank U, Next” and “7 Rings” that way.

There are several points where YouTube Premiere allows artists to amp up the suspense around their videos. Before the clip is even out, artists can create a landing page with a thumbnail, title, description, and URL for the video with reminders to watch it. Once the video arrives, online users have the ability to communicate with each other, and sometimes even with the singer themselves. “Thank U, Next,” for example, had 829,000 simultaneous viewers over 400,000 chats.

“What I most appreciate about this product is that it creates both tension and community,” YouTube’s Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen explained. “As we are going further and further into video-on-demand world, kids are desperate for some tension around fear of missing out. And the fact that the artist can create and promote a shared moment with their fans to celebrate their video at the same time – in a V.O.D. world, that type of sensation becomes even more important.”