Music Reaction Videos are a Thing

 

File under: “Nobody predicted this”.

So very recently an almost 40 year old song hit #2 on the Apple iTunes charts. What was the song and why?

Well, two young brothers posted a YouTube video of their reaction to hearing Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” for the first time. They were a little surprised to hear the point where the drums come in, and their video went viral; currently well over 6 million views. And this boosted interest in the Phil Collins song.

So music reaction videos are a thing. Folks set up a YouTube channel where they film themselves listening to a song for the first time and reacting to it. Viewers subscribe to the channel and make song suggestions, and apparently there’s some ad revenue involved. And it’s a way to promote songs.

So what’s happening here? A couple of things…

The music industry hasn’t really had a business model for a few decades. (I don’t consider “fraction of a penny per megabyte” streaming to be a valid business model.) Before the mid ’80s, radio stations would curate, present, and promote songs, and record sales would follow. And that worked pretty well. In the ’80s, MTV took that job over, at least for a couple of genres. And it’s been messy ever since.

While it sure had its faults, the earlier radio-and-record-based business model matched the cultural, artistic, social, market, and human nature needs pretty well. And much of that has been missing since.

So I think the reaction videos are addressing the need to say, “Hey, check this out, lemme play something for you”.

But there’s something else; modern popular music is, for the most part, really awful. Sure, it’s easy to dismiss an older guy whining about “you kids with your lousy music”. But by any objective measure, the songs on the charts are not very musical; in terms of melody, chord changes, theme and variations, lyrics, arrangements, beauty, craft, creativity, sophistication, playing skill, and so on.

So the reaction videos are folks hearing examples of this sort of musicianship for the first time.

Sometime last year I started enjoying a specific genre I’ll call “Black people hearing Pink Floyd for the First Time”. And if you do a YouTube search for “Pink Floyd reaction”, well, that’s what you see.

My favorite Pink Floyd song is “The Great Gig in the Sky”.

Modern popular music is also compartmentalized into very restrictive genres. In the ’60s and ’70s, exploring combinations of genres was itself a form of creative expression.

And while music used to bring the races together in wonderful ways, as the left has weaponized racism, music has suffered.

So I guess there’s this new genre I call “Black People Hearing Black Music for the First Time”. I kid, but this reaction to Living Color’s “Cult of Personality” is priceless:

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  1. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    I’ve been watching this fellow discover Elvis Presley for about a year now…

    • #1
  2. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Rick Beato did a video about this last week. He said this proves his point about people blocking things on YouTube. I know there are several here who watch Rick. He recently was invited to a congressional hearing (virtual, of course) about blocking/revenue sharing and the like. 

    • #2
  3. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    The segregation of music today (and the last 20-plus years, really) is a problem.

    When I was a radio-listening  kid in the early to mid 70s, you could hear John  Denver and Led Zeppelin on the same station (back-to-back even).

    • #3
  4. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    And, yes. Most modern music sucks! You really have to go off the beaten path to find good new bands. 

    • #4
  5. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Has that Pink Floyd guy ever listened to any Moody Blues or Alan Parsons?

    • #5
  6. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Sugar Hill Gang started the rap music revolution in 1979 when “Rapper’s Delight” charted, and we’re now 41 years past that. Go 41 years back from 1979 and you get to 1938, and the difference in music over that four decade period, compared to the past four decades is pretty amazing. That’s especially true over the past 20-25 years, where the rise of Autotune has allowed in-studio fixes for weak singers, and where the rote Top 40 hit nowadays involves for the most part songs with a melodic section mixed in with some rap lines that nobody really cares about, or borrowing the hooks from old songs as the music bed and then throwing in new lines, that nobody really cares about.

    They’re there for the 30, 40 or 50-year-old musical hook, which is why you’re seeing these videos today. Lots of teens and young adults don’t know about the original source material, which is what makes the old songs such a revelation. And you’d hope that someone watching those videos in the music world would figure out that coming up with new song melodies and hooks instead of re-hashing old ones with new lines and studio vocal tweaking would attract listeners now as much as it did 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

    • #6
  7. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    I have seen several of the brothers’ videos.  You should look up the one where they listened to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”  They loved it and their reactions were priceless.

    I hope as they become more popular, their exercise isn’t spoiled.

    • #7
  8. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer
    @KirkianWanderer

    There’s a guitarist (Fil) from the band Wings of Pegasus (fully admit to knowing nothing about the band), who does reaction/analysis videos on musical acts from all decades and countries. He’s very knowledgable, and charming, so they’re fun to watch and you learn quite a bit. I play an instrument, so I know a good bit about the analytical components of that, but I’ve enjoyed learning more about vocal music. I’ll link a few of the ones I really liked: 

     

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    And then there is:

    • #9
  10. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer
    @KirkianWanderer

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    The segregation of music today (and the last 20-plus years, really) is a problem.

    When I was a radio-listening kid in the early to mid 70s, you could hear John Denver and Led Zeppelin on the same station (back-to-back even).

    It’s something that crosses all aspects of the culture, for good and bad. With technological advance, it’s become easier for people to filter out what they don’t like, and find more (and more niche versions) of what they do, whether it be tv shows, songs, or movies. There are certainly downsides to largely losing a shared culture (less social unity, harder for people to relate across generations in some ways, etc), but a greater variety of platforms and ability to be picky also allows smaller artists and creates to find a more substantial audience than they probably could otherwise, consumers to find media that better suits their interests and needs, and people to relate over sharing a maybe less common interest.

    There’s also the fact that people my age, and even older, don’t really listen to the radio. I had bought a Bluetooth car adapter when I got my Jeep, because I knew that I already had playlists, algorithm coordinated stations, and podcasts on a couple of apps that would have stuff I was sure I liked, rather than trying to fiddle with the radio. 

    • #10
  11. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    I always get a laugh out of the videos of black people listening to the Righteous Brothers recording of You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. Some of the comments definitely aren’t PC, like the one guy who was smoking a hand-rolled cigarette and said, “Man, back in the day, the white boys could really bring it! You gotta watch your woman around these dudes.”

    • #11
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The music channels I have on my XM Satellite radio are Symphony Hall for classical music and Bluegrass Junction.  I especially like listening on Saturday afternoons for one hour to Hand Picked by bluegrass legend Del McCoury. He does the hour with his sons Rob and Ronnie, and they play songs that they all have history with, mixed in  with stories about all the artists they have met and played with over the years. 

    • #12
  13. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    There’s a guitarist (Fil) from the band Wings of Pegasus (fully admit to knowing nothing about the band), who does reaction/analysis videos on musical acts from all decades and countries.

    This guy is good.

    • #13
  14. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    Has anybody seen the Cadbury’s ad with the gorilla playing the drums?

    • #14
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    Has anybody seen the Cadbury’s ad with the gorilla playing the drums?

    • #15
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    And another:

    • #16
  17. Nerina Bellinger Member
    Nerina Bellinger
    @NerinaBellinger

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    There’s a guitarist (Fil) from the band Wings of Pegasus (fully admit to knowing nothing about the band), who does reaction/analysis videos on musical acts from all decades and countries.

    This guy is good.

    My favorite is Fil reacting and analyzing Roy Clark’s appearance on The Odd Couple when her performed an impromptu Malaguena.  Just outstanding.  Roy was the man.  And in the comments on YouTube people share stories of interacting with him.  It sounds like he was a super humble man.

    • #17
  18. Nerina Bellinger Member
    Nerina Bellinger
    @NerinaBellinger

    Also love the Twinsarethenewtrend boys. W how they react to Whitney Houston and to Queen.  I waste alot of time watching them and Fill.

    • #18
  19. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Arahant (View Comment):

    And then there is:

    Somebody should throw one of these guys The Prophets Song from that same album.  Their heads would probably explode.

     

    • #19
  20. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    I have to admit, it is fun watching Black guys listening to “White” music.

    • #20
  21. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    I have to admit, it is fun watching Black guys listening to “White” music.

    Cultural appropriation? I kid, I kid. 

    • #21
  22. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    And it’s not always black guys:

    • #22
  23. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    I have to admit, it is fun watching Black guys listening to “White” music.

    Comments are hilarious sometimes when it’s white guys singing “black music”. Example: The African-American coalition would like to propose a trade. We’ll send you Tiger Woods and a player to be named later for Michael McDonald. 

    • #23
  24. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Rose McGowan says:

    “Free Bird!”

    • #24
  25. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Rose McGowan says:

    “Free Bird!”

    Oh man, should have been the live version.  The guitar jam is way more insane.

     

    • #25
  26. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    And this lady is fun, too…

    • #26
  27. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    I’ll regard this reaction video as an excuse to get more attention for Marc Broussard:

    • #27
  28. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Django (View Comment):
    I’ll regard this reaction video as an excuse to get more attention for Marc Broussard:

    It’s why I posted the one with Disturbed doing “The Sound of Silence.”

    • #28
  29. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    A live performance of Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” guarantees a good reaction:

    Now, this *is* a tour de force.  Edgar is doing some remarkable playing here.  And juggling.

    The keyboard he’s playing is wired to the ARP 2600 synthesizer behind him (grey with slide pots).  So they’re different components of the same instrument.

    And you can’t see this, but after playing the timbales he had to quickly tweak the synth a little bit before picking up the keyboard to get that spacey trill sound; it’s an oscillator trilling the pitch up a fifth.

    And the synth breakdown section leaves the instrument completely out of tune, so that’s why he finishes up on the timbales.

    So this takes planning.

    • #29
  30. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Classic rock will endure just like the symphonies of yore.

    I hear or read about a lot of throw-away music out there.  How many of us geezers who were teens in the 60s and 70s even listen to anything done after that era?  I pick up a few songs here and there, mostly from movie sound tracks and even Ricochet podcasts (thank you, Jon Gabriel).  But if I need a music fix, I’ll put on something like a Beethoven symphony or Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” to get high . . .

    • #30