Hardy Drew & The Nancy Boys
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Hardy Drew & The Nancy Boys

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http://www.vueweekly.com/articles/default.aspx?i=5849

STEVEN SANDOR / steven@vueweekly.com

YouTube beats the boob tube in music videos

How many times a day do you get emails from friends urging you to click on this hilarious/gross/weird clip that just went up on YouTube?

I’m sure, like me and countless others, you’ve lost count. But how many times have you gone there to check out a clip or video from an up-and-coming band?

With traditional outlets such as MuchMusic and MTV playing fewer and fewer videos, YouTube is becoming the place to catch performances from independent bands. Whether it is snippets of a live show or a produced video, YouTube has got it all.

I did a search for “Edmonton band” on YouTube and got pages of results: a video of “Rage Marker” from local metalheads Mervyn Albin, shots of Shattered Core playing in the studio and a live set from the Urban Lounge, Tupelo Honey playing live at EdFest, a blow-out-the-speakers-loud recording of local act the Bleeding Alarm ... the list goes on.

One thing that really caught my attention was Edmonton experimental act Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys’ seven-minute rendition of their track “Heavy Early,” which shows the band getting set up and ready to play, then launching into a not-particularly-pop-friendly song. Basically, this would have zero chance of being played on the nation’s music station. But, on YouTube, the band can find an audience—maybe even more so than on MySpace.

“It’s absolutely the future of video,” says Hardy Drew drummer and songwriter David Leigh. “It allows you to sidestep some of the restrictive requirements that MuchMusic has. If you see, at the start and end of the video, there’s a lot of bullshit there, which captures what it’s like to play in a band. You are waiting while the band tunes, just doing nothing, then you play. Something like that would never air on MuchMusic.”

What puts YouTube ahead of the pack isn’t just its universally-recognized brand; it’s the fact that it’s virtually impossible to copy video from YouTube, so bands don’t have to worry about piracy.

As well, having performances easily accessible to club owners and booking agents can help a band like Hardy Drew to get gigs, especially out of town.
The point of making a video is to be seen—to gain an audience. The irony is that in today’s world, pop stars don’t sell massive amounts of records anymore (see last week’s column)—but, for the amount of records they do sell, maybe 6 000 a week, they get an inordinate number of plays on traditional TV. Maybe YouTube will be to MuchMusic what iTunes has been to the music biz.

“There is time for MuchMusic to play more bands,” says Leigh. “But you know the advertisers are behind certain bands, and they get played six times a day.” V

Steven Sandor is a former editor-in-chief of Vue Weekly, now an editor and author living in Toronto. - Vue Weekly - written by Steven Sandor


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Streaming songs available here: http://www.myspace.com/hdnb

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