Ozuna Premieres YouTube Documentary; Lyor Cohen Talks Strategy

Alberto Rodriguez/Telemundo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Ozuna performs at the Dolby Theatre on Oct. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif. 

The No. 1 on artist on YouTube’s Global Artist chart for the second week in a row is Puerto Rican star Ozuna. That achievement is on top of the more than 4.9 billion YouTube views Ozuna has garnered so far in 2017. 

Today (Nov. 8), YouTube is helping celebrate and further accelerate Ozuna’s success in the platform and beyond with the premiere of an eight-minute documentary titled Música Sin Fronteras (Music Without Borders) on Ozuna’s YouTube channel, which has more than 8 million followers. 

The video traces Ozuna’s beginnings in Puerto Rico, using as a departure his two sold-out shows at Coliseo Puerto Rico, which took place just days before hurricane Maria devastated the island. 

“I dedicate this to Puerto Rico,” says Ozuna in the opening lines of the documentary. “We were affected by Maria but Puerto Rico gets up. Puerto Rico remains standing.” Watch the documentary here:


The premiere will go hand-in-hand with a social activation to promote Ozuna’s new music video “Síguelo Bailando,” which will officially premiere when 20,000 fans post with the hashtag #siguelobailando. http://http://siguelobailando.com/

While YouTube has filmed a few documentaries with major stars before, this marks its first such foray with an artist who records in Spanish. More importantly, the Ozuna partnership marks one of YouTube’s most substantial with an artist, ever. 

“Ozuna is like a beautiful, perfect storm,” says Lyor Cohen, global head of music at YouTube. “He’s fundamentally a great musician, a great artist, he’s a great entertainer, he’s incredibly charismatic, and he’s born in an era that understands this platform immensely.”

YouTube first noticed Ozuna a little over a year ago, when, without an album and only eight videos to his name, he’d managed to amass 2 million subscribers and over 800 million YouTube views worldwide.

Executives invited him to a YouTube luncheon at the 2016 Latin Grammys and gave him his first Gold Play Button Award for surpassing 1 million subscribers. When Ozuna got ready to release his debut album, Odisea, this August, YouTube helped support the release with a multiplatform, multimedia campaign that included “Música Sin Fronteras” billboards in major markets, a big statement. Odisea, out on Sony Music Latin, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart. 

At the crux of the support, says Cohen, is the fact that Ozuna understands YouTube and has made the platform one of the anchors of his music. 

“Ozuna is an expert in the platform, and understands the platform so well, that he was able to explain to me how to best utilize it, the best practices,” says Cohen. “This is a platform that has no borders, just like his music.”

The fact that YouTube is “borderless” has allowed it to become a playground for Latin acts who didn’t have the advantage of a global platform before, and the results are nothing short of astonishing. 

At the start of 2016, five Latin videos had reached the 1 billion mark. Today, 20 have reached the milestone. So far in 2017, 45 of the top 100 most viewed music videos on YouTube in 2017 feature Latin artists.
And this week alone, six out of YouTube’s 10 most watched videos are Latin (seven if we include Camila Cabello’s “Havana”), including “Despacito” at No. 1 and three Ozuna videos in the top 10. 

As it turns out, YouTube is also going “all in” with Cabello and has supported the video. “We have to get it right,” says Cohen of his artist selection. “We have to find a really incredible artist and help them with artist development and be there when they need us. We have a career goal. We want to get away from just flash in the pan. We love to help break singles and make worldwide hits, but we want an immersive relationship that spans the life of a career.” 


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