Pomplamoose are navigating the treacherous waters of YouTube cover song stardom when one has dreams of being more than a cover band. Part of their approach is to record their original work as solo artists Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte separately from Pomplamoose. While that may sound a bit complicated, the approach is keeping their musical identities clear while building a brand that supports their long term career-building activities.
TechCrunch's Andrew Keen interviewed Pomplamoose during the recent SF MusicTech Summit. Keen's gee whiz lack of knowledge of the space and of the artists gave Pomplamoose the opportunity to demonstrate how to gracefully handle awkward interview settings while breaking down the basics of making it on YouTube with cover songs.
In the interview with Keen, Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte discuss iTunes and licensing deals as their primary revenue streams. Their success with selling digital tracks of the songs they cover in their videos goes back to 2010. At that point they also tried YouTube's Musicians Wanted program ad program with which they are apparently no longer involved.
Employing an approach they call "videosongs", the two record covers in sparse home studios, shoot the process and create the video from that footage. It's even become formalized into "VideoSong" as you can see in the text below this cover of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" on YouTube:
This cover is a VideoSong, a new medium with 2 rules:
1. What you see is what you hear (no lip-syncing for instruments or voice).
2. If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds).
While it's always good to have a manifesto, Conte tells Keen that what they were basically trying to find a way to create music videos that was "cheap and quick and easy." In fact, the early videos were made to promote a previous album of Conte's but "they all wanted the MP3 of the song that I’d just posted. That’s when I realized, these videos I’m making are the products!"
Once Jack Conte brought on Nataly Dawn, Pomplamoose allowed them to develop a comfortable working existence as part of the emerging musical middle class. Given that they continue to work on their own original material as well, Pomplamoose will also provide a longer-term case study for whether or not YouTube cover song stars can crossover with their own originals.
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and music industry resources at Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.