News 24 November 2020

ARIA Masterclass: Lyor Cohen & Tuma Basa

It's all part of ARIA Week 2020, presented by Mitsubishi Motors.

ARIA Masterclass: Lyor Cohen & Tuma Basa

The final ARIA Masterclass for 2020 sees Lars Brandle meet Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube and Tuma Basa, Director of Black Music and Culture at YouTube, to talk about music, politics, and the tools YouTube has given to artists through the pandemic.

Some highlights include:

Both Lyor and Tuma are based in the USA and have been following the election closely. Lyor Cohen says music is the soundtrack of important events, and that where there is friction there will be great art. Tuma says he is looking forward to seeing the inner and pure art that will come from musicians after living through this election and the pandemic. 

Lyor states how YouTube has been able to offer distribution on such a large scale for artists to interact with their audiences during the pandemic. Tuma highlights how YouTube has given artists the option to work from home and still earn, when otherwise this may have not been an option. The next stage Lyor says, is to make audiences understand that they can significantly support artists through functions such as Super Chat where they can give money to the artist during a livestream.

Tuma speaks about how Hip Hop has become global, and YouTube has helped make this genre borderless. This has been seen through Australian artists like The Kid Laroi and ONEFOUR collaborating with American artists such as Juice Wrld and ASAP Ferg. Tuma gives the example of the drill scene, which originated in Chicago, before moving to the UK and eventually spreading to other countries such as Australia. Lyor adds that the digital landscape has made the music business smaller and given more artists the opportunity to gain exposure. 

Lyor and Tuma talk about the responsibility music has to unite people, and YouTube has served as a platform to do that. YouTube has pioneered live-streaming and the art of performing for the people at home.

You can watch the 2020 ARIA Awards, in partnership with YouTube Music, on Wednesday, 25 November.