The Google-owned video giant teased a partnership with Bieber for what it labeled “a top-secret project premiering next year.” It “promises to be one of the most talked-about YouTube originals ever,” said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, announcing the deal Thursday at its Brandcast event for advertisers.
It’s a natural tie-up: Bieber famously was “discovered” on YouTube, and today he’s the the No. 1 most-followed music artist on YouTube, currently with over 44.5 million subscribers to his channel (youtube.com/kidrauhl). It has more than 19 billion views to date.
The Canadian-born singer started posting homemade videos in 2007, then began uploading covers of songs by artists including Usher, Ne-Yo and Stevie Wonder. That caught the eye of Scooter Braun, who has been Bieber’s manager ever since.
The Bieber project — whatever it is — also makes sense for YouTube, given that music is the most popular content overall on the platform. The company has identified the genre as one of the key pillars of its original-programming strategy going forward.
Also at Brandcast, YouTube also announced a deal to live-stream the four-day Lollapalooza festival this summer as well as a feature-length documentary following Latin music star Maluma.
In addition to exclusively live-streaming Coachella since 2011, YouTube has funded music specials and productions including Ariana Grande docu-series “Dangerous Woman,” a documentary following K-pop group BTS on their 2017 world tour, documentary feature “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated,” and Katy Perry’s four-day live-streamed special two years ago to promote her album “Witness.”
Meanwhile, YouTube also announced that starting this year, it will make all of its original programming available for free in windows following their debut on the YouTube Premium subscription service. That will include the first two seasons of “Cobra Kai,” which it just renewed for a third season.