I would have predicted that by April 2010, YouTube’s “most popular” videos would be consistantly good. In fact, however, we’re seeing some all-star talent like Mediocrefilms and BlameSocietyFilms getting far fewer views than they would have a year ago. And we’re seeing some YouTube channels ranking consistently on YouTube’s most-viewed and most popular sections that are (how can I put this nicely?) kinda “Naltsish.”
Why? Sure there’s an increasing amount of competition, but the only common thread I’m seeing among the high performers (in views and subscription growth) is regularity (videos posted daily or several times a week). To some extent this isn’t entirely new, but I would have thought by now that the “most popular” content would kinda sort out the good from the bad. Has my taste departed from fellow YouTube viewers, or is the algorithm screwed up?
It would appear that routine posting, more than anything else, is key. Talent continues to be far less important than regularity, as well as the basic standards I address in “How To Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent” (engaging with audience, collaborating with popular creators, etc).
There are notable exceptions. Nobody in web video has produced more consistently creative and awe-inspiring videos in 2010 than Joe Penna, known as The MysteryGuitarMan. It’s perplexing that even the most extremely awesome and popular YouTube amateurs is virtually an unknown beyond YouTube. When I speak at conferences, few recognize the most-viewed or most-subscribed people like Fred… and certainly haven’t heard of MGM (aka JP).
Check out a few of these videos from this playlist and you’ll quickly see why he’s predictably on the “most viewed” or “most popular” pages. His videos are not just audible and video joy, they’re painstaking acts of labor. Each take creativity to a new level, and is the output of countless hours of work.
MGM for free wrote my Nalts theme song back in 2007, and I’ve watched his videos over the years. He kinda fell off the grid in 2008-2009, but 2010 has been his year. I think about him at least once daily. I literally go to the computer just to see his new video (versus stumble into him on a YouTube binge). And when it’s something especially awe inspired like “Happy Dance (looping around),” I bring the whole family around the computer, like a 1940 family gathered around a radio to hear Orphan Annie.
According to Penna’s Wikipedia entry, he was going to pursue medical school. While the world could have used a creative and determined doctor like Penna, I’m really, really glad he chose to put his passion into film, video, creativity, illustration and music. I think his more than 750,000 subscribers would agree.
Parenthetically, Penna recently joined Rhett and Link (who haven’t posted a video in weeks and it hurts) to collaborate in the Swamps of North Carolina. Given Rhett and Link’s collaboration with MGM that produced this painstakingly wonderful t-shirt video (read more), I can only imagine what we’ll see next week as the result of sleepless nights by Rhett, Link and Joe.