March 23, 2023

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Someone should make a game about: competitive online singing

The way the world discovers its new favourite musician is changing. Gone are the days of finding the next One Direction, Camila Cabello or Susan Boyle on popular television programming. It’s been a while since we’ve had a breakout star from the world of televised reality competitions. The last ones were arguably Louisa Johnson who won The X Factor in 2015 and Becky Hill who made it to the semi-finals of The Voice in 2014.

This is not to say these kinds of shows haven’t worked in the past. Some of music’s biggest titans started out facing TV judges. Beyonce, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were first introduced to the world on the American TV show Star Search, which ran from 1983 to 1995. In more recent years in the UK however, TV shows centered around competitive singing haven’t been moving on to the next round, so to speak. The most popular singing show in the UK is The X Factor, but viewing figures started to drop in 2010. The show went from an average of 14.3 million viewers that year to roughly 12.41 million viewers in 2011. By 2019 it was at 2.95 million, losing to its competitor The Voice, which had 4.6 million viewers.

Singing shows are not the only way into the music industry. The Weeknd, Halsey and Justin Bieber all got started on Youtube. Other popular websites such as Tumblr, Vine and MySpace have also been used to upload songs and performances from aspiring musicians. Twitch is in a different league though. Since the start of the pandemic, the popular streaming service has seen a rise in both creators and viewership. As a result of artists and musicians not being able to perform at venues, many of them have headed to Twitch. Even though Twitch remains primarily a gaming platform, music has become so prominent it’s now a main category, currently standing at 5.4 million followers.

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