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YouTube uploaders ignite dancehall feuds

Published:Sunday | June 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Bounty Killer

Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer

Feuds in the music industry are sometimes caused by rumours and lyrical content which some artistes regard as being disrespectful.

Without proof of an artiste's intentions, YouTube uploaders have taken it upon themselves to spark controversy by adding titles to the songs and using the names of those they assume the songs are levelled at.

A prime example of the effects of this practice is the feud that is currently brewing between Bounty Killer and his protégé, Mavado.

Mavado released several songs over the last two years, which were regarded as tongue-in-cheek potshots at Bounty Killer.

Those tracks went under the radar until recently. That all changed after several YouTube uploaders began to label Mavado's songs, Bounty Killer disses. At no point in any of these songs was Bounty Killer's name used.

Bounty Killer responded with a song of his own called Death Works. There was nothing tongue-in-cheek about Bounty's response.

The Sunday Gleaner spoke with YouTube uploader Lando G, who admitted that persons who upload songs on the popular video site had started feuds by labelling tracks 'dis songs'.

According to Lando G though, in most instances, uploaders are correct in their analysis of a song.

"When they upload the songs as dis songs it's normally a subliminal dis. A artiste will dis a next one and don't want to say it out and be frank or real. So we just give it the right caption to let the people know what is going on," he said.

Lando G says while the practice is not always fruitful, controversy usually pulls traffic to YouTube channels.

"It's a strategy for getting attention and sparking controversy because controversy sells. Artistes use controversy to promote themselves and YouTube uploaders use controversy to get traffic on their channels. Sometimes it's not good though, because one of my most popular accounts was terminated because of that, so right now I am more professional, I don't really do that type of thing," he said.

Publicist Kayla Williams, who represents dancehall artiste Aidonia, says misleading captions on songs can send the wrong message about an artiste.

Williams believes many persons rely on news from Internet sources, therefore, it is time for persons who operate websites and YouTube channels to exercise some form of responsibility.

"Sometimes they take even old songs and label it as dis songs. I saw that happen to Aidonia recently and as for fans that follow these uploads, you need to pay keen attention to what the artiste and his management team are doing, that way you will realise what they are truly endorsing from what they are not," she said.

Since the start of 2014, several local recording artistes have made steps to control their YouTube uploads by joining, YouTube company VEVO, which offers protection against copyright infringement and offers profits for YouTube traffic.

Williams also believes YouTube uploaders can slow down the progress of projects. An example of this, Williams said, can be found when uploaders label illegitimate videos 'official'.

"When they label unofficial videos 'official' that is bad for the artiste ... in some cases the official music video isn't even released yet and persons are turned away from the original because the fake had already captured their attention," she said.

JJ Evafrass is another popular YouTube uploader who has amassed views in the millions via his channel. He told The Sunday Gleaner that he does not upload songs with the label 'dis' unless he is directed to do so by the producer of the song.

However, he also said that in cases where YouTube uploaders choose to take the initiative and label the songs based on their assumptions, they are normally closer to the truth.

"It would have to be on the basis of what is in the streets. When artistes have their differences the news normally spreads fast and as old people say, 'if something nuh guh suh, it almost guh suh'," JJ Evafrass laughed.