All the top viewed videos of Youtube are music videos, with the exception of the adorable home video footage known as Charlie Bit My Finger, which means several things, actually, about the ever changing music industry. First of all, music promoters and agents now need to actively take advantage of these platforms as more than fluff, they can generate actual income for the artists. The current top examples highlight several lessons for those at all levels of the music industry.
South Korean pop musician Park Jae Sang, otherwise known as PSY, became a global sensation with the release of his single and accompanying dance moves in July 2012. More than just dominating the discos, inspiring copycat artists who mimic the dance, and appearance all over late-night talk shows, ‘Gangnam Style’ earned its creators more than $870,000 from Youtube alone, and exceeded $8 million in total from all its online advertising. Last year, the video was receiving an average of 11 million view per day, which pushed it to overcome Justin Bieber’s single ‘Baby’ as the most-video video in Youtube history.
The video for Justin Bieber’s hit single ‘Baby’ obtained a more gradual success than Gangnam Style’s quick bolt to ubiquity, as it was uploaded in 2010 and sees around two million views per day. However, Bieber’s presence on the most-viewed list spans further than this popular jam featuring Ludaris.
Also on the current list of top-viewed videos are Bieber’s ‘Never Say Never’ and ‘One Time’ The nineteen year old was first discovered by fans years ago on Youtube and has sprung into a position of such substantial online influence that Klout social networking index puts Bieber at the top of their list, above even Barack Obama and Lady Gaga. How does this influence translate into cash? Estimates range from $800,000 – 850,000, which must surely make it worth having the most disliked videos on Youtube.
JLo’s 2011 dance club hit, ‘On the Floor,’ holds the third place on the chart of top-viewed videos because, as it seems, millions of people use Youtube videos to initiate dance party energy on their smart phones or in their homes.
This video’s success is also indebted to Lopez’s stunning career reincarnation of late.
As with Justin Bieber, JLo’s videos are streamed on the Youtube’s VEVO channel, which gets billions of views, and writes checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars to the J Lo’s label as she accumulates millions of Youtube views.
Ironically, Brit sensation Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag, is number 29 on the list, with over 250 million views on her catchy anthem ranting against the commercialization of music. She urges her listeners to ‘forget about the price tag,’ while we all obviously cannot believe that she doesn’t appreciate the extra cash she earns from her Youtube views. This prime example proves that there is no real predictable equation for how to create a super successful viral music video.
Creating videos that attract millions of viewers does still have strong elements of luck and timing, but developing outstanding videos by focusing on the content and working with talented artists can get you there. Aside from viral sensations, it is also possible to slowly grow your audience on Youtube, which, at a certain point, will allow you to become a Youtube partner eligible to make anywhere from $3-10 per one thousand views. Other ways to cash in on hit Youtube videos, aside from advertising revenue, include: commercial contracts, ring tones, direct merchandising, and TV appearances.
This a guest post by James, a freelance writer and full time music promoter.