When someone like Miley Cyrus debuts her latest hit single, the true songwriters most likely remain tucked firmly behind the scenes. Chester See, a songwriter and YouTube performer, thinks that music distribution via platforms like YouTube could replace the Miley figure and, eventually, “democratize music.” A bold statement, but See has a theory to back it up that he mentions during his interview with Rhett & Link on their podcast, “Ear Biscuits.”
As See looks to start a company about “making sense of music distribution online,” he thinks a lot about his friends who write songs that eventually end up in the mouths of huge celebrities like Cyrus and even Katy Perry. These stars, See explained, “are not singing originals, as they’re framed; they’re really just covers.” These covers by songwriters signed to various music publishing companies are what the industry pays big bucks for Cyrus, etc., to sing.
So is an unknown belting out Selena Gomez’s last song on YouTube then not much different from Gomez singing it herself, since they’re both covering someone else’s original work? The difference lurks behind the scenes where Gomez picks up the song, maintaining the public illusion that it always belonged to her. So what will happen when distribution of such songs on the internet gets stronger?
“Eventually…these hit songs written by these amazing songwriters given to [artists like Miley Cyrus] will be given to the world, and anyone can create a version that is most listened to,” See predicted. Just because a name celebrity makes sense business-wise as the “poster child” for the latest big single, doesn’t mean she or he represents the best voice for the song. See recognizes this and believes that it should influence the direction of the music industry. Let the people, through their views, decide who should sing the next “Adore You.”
See goes into more detail about YouTube and the music industry during his interview on the podcast, “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”