Lele Pons is a massive star on YouTube, with close to 11m subscribers and whose videos are mainly a series of comedy skits. She also has 26.7m followers on Instagram, 4m followers on Facebook and 1.9m followers on Twitter.
She is also the latest YouTuber to land a deal with a record label – in this case Universal Music Group via its 10.22pm imprint. So far, so inevitable. But the marketing around her first single, ‘Celoso’ (Spanish for ‘Jealous’), is where it gets more interesting.
She is singing in Spanish (even though she is bilingual and most of her videos on YouTube are in English) and the track will have two different videos. One is the standard horizontal video, but the other will be shot in portrait for Spotify (where it will be an exclusive).
Video is obviously her heartland, having grown her profile on YouTube, and will be a key part of her positioning and marketing as a singer. “She has one of the highest completion rates as it relates to her video content,” Celine Joshua, head of10.22pm, told Billboard.
“Traditionally her fans have mostly seen her content in Instagram or YouTube. By introducing ‘Celoso’ we’re able to bring that audience to partners like Spotify and Apple Music but still have Lele.”
While there is clear understanding of where her appeal lies, to misquote The Buggles while pointing at the long list of YouTubers who signed to labels and quickly sank, it is a tough sell to get music streaming to care about the video star.