16 Comments

Summary:

The global community created by online video means that we can now watch a star be born — thousands of miles away, on a show unavailable on American TV — in real time. Witness Susan Boyle. Boyle, who performed I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables […]

The global community created by online video means that we can now watch a star be born — thousands of miles away, on a show unavailable on American TV — in real time. Witness Susan Boyle.

Boyle, who performed I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables on Britain’s Got Talent last weekend, has become a viral sensation in mere days, thanks to the (at last check) roughly 15 million views her performance has garnered on YouTube. There are so many details that make this clip flat-out brilliant — Boyle’s sassy response to questions about her age and the heavily eyelinered teenager in the audience whom the camera catches eye-rolling at Boyle’s dream to become a professional singer are just two of the choicest. Oh, and of course, her actual performance, which is beautiful — so beautiful, in fact, that the judges all but apologize for having such low expectations of Boyle’s abilities, which were clearly based solely on her appearance.

Boyle’s backstory isn’t detailed on the show, but subsequent news coverage has detailed how the 47-year-old karaoke enthusiast spent most of her life taking care of her mother, who passed away a year or so ago. It’s the sort of underdog story people love — and especially love watching on YouTube.

One interesting twist to this story is that the producers of Britain’s Got Talent have not taken down the many YouTube bootlegs available currently, despite having a half-decent video of her performance on the show’s official site. The Guardian reports that the official site has also seen a major boost in traffic, with video views jumping by 500 percent, but the Guardian itself, however, embeds in the piece a YouTube version of the performance.

Appearing on The Early Show this morning, Boyle put no emphasis on where Americans might be able to watch her next performance, perhaps knowing all too well that they’ll watch it where they want to. As Tony winner Patti LuPone, who was the first to perform I Dreamed a Dream and spoke to Boyle via phone on the show, said, “I saw it on YouTube like everybody else.”

While American Idol contestants tend to languish in bargain bins or off-Broadway musicals, Boyle’s predecessor in viral fame, Paul Potts, was far more successful. After winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2007, Paul Potts continued singing, completing a 85-city concert tour in November 2008 and continuing to make regular appearances — his second album, Passione, will be out on Columbia Records May 5th. And it’s worth noting that since 2007 he has embraced the medium that made him an international star, actively using YouTube along with his well-designed official site.

Boyle’s story is still in progress — in fact, she has quite a long way to go. There are seven more weeks of auditions before the show’s final round of performances on May 30, and there’s no guarantee that she’ll make it to the end. But if she continues to bring the same cheeky attitude, passion and awe-inspiring talent to the show week after week, her success could easily become the story of the summer.

  1. What about the Royalty issue that seems to be missed on this story. The Producers of Britain’s Got Talent and/or Ms.Boyle must have cleared and paid for rights to use the song on the show. Now that it has hit YouTube 15million times, and growing, should someone be paying Claude-Michel Schönberg, or whomever owns the rights, for this public digital presentation?

    -TK

    Share
  2. That’s something I didn’t have a chance to explore, TK, but a very interesting point!

    Share
  3. I doubt whoever owns the rights will be able to recoup any royalties… the video is too viral –Plus, I’m willing to bet that Ms. Boyle just introduced Les Mis… to thousands, if not millions of new (younger) listeners, I would expect sells of the soundtrack to tick upwards, so it should be a nice little boost for someone — trying to go after people for copyright infringement would be a big mistake — go with the flow is what I say…

    Share
  4. [...] Britain’s Got Talent’s Susan Boyle Shoots to YouTube Stardom [...]

    Share
  5. Interesting position, numbers23, but that is how rights holders make a living – receiving royalties for the work they create. Just because a track goes viral does not mean that it is exempt from copyright law and compensation to the artist that created it.

    Check out this link:http://tinyurl.com/cfmwbh where Pete Waterman, the co-writer of “never going to give you up” and was used to Rick Roll 154 million times has received a whopping $16 to date for his IP.

    While it is a stretch to compare the works of Mr. Schönberg and Mr. Waterman in the same sentence, both have had their intellectual property used without adequate and fair compensation.

    Share
  6. [...] metrics for a dramatic web series should be different than a flash-in-the-pan phenom like Susan Boyle, or even a comedy series that doesn’t have an ongoing narrative. Just like with oldteevee, an [...]

    Share
  7. [...] metrics for a dramatic web series should be different than a flash-in-the-pan phenom like Susan Boyle, or even a comedy series that doesn’t have an ongoing narrative. Just like with oldteevee, an [...]

    Share
  8. [...] Keeps Boyle Clip From Bringing in Big Bucks Susan Boyle may have a voice that launched more than 100 million views, but bickering over ad formats has kept [...]

    Share
  9. [...] A few months ago, Liz Gannes, writing for NewTeeVee, pointed out that Facebook and Twitter are becoming major sources of traffic for bloggers, such as Perez Hilton, and online video sites, and are growing really fast. This means that content can “go viral” more quickly than ever before, as we saw recently with the tremendous trajectory of views for unlikely international hero Susan Boyle. [...]

    Share
  10. [...] A some months ago, Liz Gannes, composition for NewTeeVee, pointed out that Facebook and Twitter are decent field sources of reciprocation for bloggers, much as Perez Hilton, and online recording sites, and are ontogeny rattling fast. This effectuation that noesis crapper “go viral” more apace than ever before, as we saw fresh with the large flight of views for implausible planetary hero Susan Boyle. [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post