Less than 100 views on YouTube is “practically unseen” proclaims the new documentary from electronic producer The Range, aka James Hinton. He pulled vocal samples from strangers' acapella on YouTube to make his newest album Potential.
A&R teams have been using YouTube for years to sign new talent. Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun discovered Bieber on YouTube in 2008. But like some producers, Hinton was just looking to sample lyrics to mix in with his beats.
“There are these people out there that I didn’t know that were just shouting out into the void.”
Hinton spent “something like 200 hours on YouTube over about 35 days,” he told Wired trying to find that “intimate and raw and really unique” voice. He found people from London, Kingston, and locally in Brooklyn. Once he mastered the songs, he tracked down each the artists to get their approval. Some of the Youtubers like
Some of the Youtubers like Kai had inactive accounts; others had posted videos years ago and forgot about them. Hinton agreed to share songwriting credits with all the vocalists on the album, so everyone receives royalties.
Below is the mix of his collaboration with Kai. I did not realize that I had already liked the song on SoundCloud before hearing about its story. It sounds like Burial met Diplo laced with hints of Balearic beats.
Hinton also made a documentary called Superimpose (watch it below) to launch the album. As a musician, Hinton still wonders “what drives people to record videos of themselves in the first place.”
Creative expression, fame — whatever it is — it is a human desire to be heard. Hinton is currently vetting Twitter for possible collaborations. Just wait until he digs deep into vast video archive of Instagram and Facebook.