Otis McDonald is not a name which will trip off the tongue to many, though is stealthily becoming one of the world’s most listened-to artists. His figures (all, almost uniquely in modern music, real) are staggering:
Otis McDonald songs appear in over 3.5 million YouTube videos with a total of 7.6 billion views
Over 3 million streams on Spotify
Over 3 million downloads from the YouTube Audio Library
Over 3 million streams on Soundcloud,
46,000 YouTube subscribers
By the time you’ve read this, they will have already how multiplied like nuclear-powered rabbits.
It’s tricky to pluck out a comparison from the ether but if you imagine the likes of Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett churning out killer tracks for music libraries such as DeWolfe and Chappell, allowing their use in everything from advertisements to film soundtracks to sampling, then Otis is their 21st Century equivalent…with one major difference…Otis is allowing people to use his music for free.
Uploading his music to YouTube’s Audio Library, anyone can access Otis’ music, which has seen it used in the videos of millions of YouTubers in endless different ways. To some, Otis’ music is used because it evokes feelings of the 70s and 80s – to others, it’s utterly contemporary, with the beats and melodies that people are crying out for but performed by a multi-instrumentalist genius, not a machine.
Untangling his name – Otis, in deference to Shuggie Otis; McDonald in a doff of the cap to Michael McDonald, the real man behind the project is Joe Bagale, a polymath composer and musician. Based in San Francisco, his mission is to compose tributes to his musical inspirations from across the years for others to enjoy in any way they choose. The reinforce this, he is currently approaching the climax to his quest to find the final track-listing to his debut album, naturally enlisting the masses of YouTube acolytes to decide by choosing from 15 snippets of music he is uploading each Friday:
“In the spirit of a choose your own adventure book, for this album I’ve decided to release 15 snippets of 15 brand new tracks over the course of 15 weeks. I’ll then pick the 10 tracks that have the most views and likes and comments and weave them together as a 10-track album. The fans pick the album and they’re a part of the process”.
Impossible to pin-down musically – his tracks go from Philly to New York to Money Mark to Ween to Prince to The Doobie Brothers, Otis is our new hero.
To join the revolution, visit Otis’ YouTube Channel and choose your favourite tracks