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Study explores patterns of ‘high-subscriber’ YouTube channels


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If you’re thinking about YouTube and music, you should definitely read the latest report by research company the Pew Research Center, which came out yesterday. Titled ‘A Week in the Life of Popular YouTube Channels’, it’s based on an analysis of the videos posted by channels with more than 250,000 subscribers in the first week of 2019 – remember this last bit, we’ll return to it a bit further down – to gauge the trends.

“These popular channels alone posted nearly a quarter-million videos in the first seven days of 2019, totaling 48,486 hours of content,” noted Pew. “The average video posted by these channels during this time period was roughly 12 minutes long and received 58,358 views during its first week on the site. Altogether, these videos were viewed over 14.2 billion times in their first seven days on the platform.”

All good stuff, but it’s the deeper detail that’s interesting. 10% of all these 250k-plus-subscribers channels accounted for 70% of all the videos posted during that week, while 10% of the videos posted accounted for 79% of the views. More relevantly to Music Ally, the category of ‘music or dance’ accounted for 9% of the videos posted by the channels surveyed: half the percentage of the ‘video games’ category. And music/dance was only the ninth biggest individual category for median views per video.

Okay, back to that point earlier: the fact that the study is based on videos published in the first week of 2019. That’s hardly a peak time for new music videos to be published, so it’s possible that music would have indexed higher if the study had been conducted later in the year. Which is not a criticism of Pew’s methodology: just a pointer to not draw too firm a conclusion about what it says about music’s place in the YouTube scheme of things.

Oh, and if you want some quick hacks for your YouTube channel (disclaimer: don’t take this seriously!) check Pew’s list of the title keywords that were associated with an increase in view counts. The first artist to make a music video called ’Funny Superhero Box-Prank ASMR Fortnite-Trump DIY Challenge’ will have a bigger hit than ‘Old Town Road’ on their hands…

Stuart Dredge

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