How To Get A Billion Views On YouTube

How To Get A Billion Views On YouTube
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    - Five billion. (upbeat music)
    That's how many times videos are watched on YouTube
    every single day.
    With the platform helping thousands of creators go viral,
    we wanted to see if there was a set formula
    for making a hit video.
    To figure out what works on YouTube,
    let's take a look at the 10 most-watched videos.
    Nine out of 10 are music videos.
    And, the trend continues.
    Music videos make up 94 of the top 100.
    And, it isn't some strange coincidence.
    People spend more time listening to music
    on YouTube than Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal combined.
    - YouTube has become a popular destination for music
    because it's just so easy.
    - [Narrator] That's Chris Molanphy.
    He's a pop chart analyst and host of the Hit Parade podcast
    which dissects how that top hits
    made their way up the charts.
    - And, the reason why music video in particular
    has taken off is, again, the length,
    the fact that it's professionally produced content,
    it's just right for consumption on a platform like YouTube.
    (rock music) - Back in the day,
    MTV was the primary way to watch music videos.
    You would have the channel on
    and wait for your favorite music videos to play.
    Now, we have the ability to play any music video
    whenever we want.
    Since the most popular videos are almost all music videos,
    it seems the fastest way to a billion views
    is a music video.
    But, before you have a music video,
    you need a song millions of people wanna listen to.
    - Right now, rhythmically, there's a trend
    towards this rhythm that you might call the Dembow rhythm.
    And, this is something you can hear
    in a lot of top 40 pop songs
    and a lot of the top YouTube videos.
    It's a rhythm that you'll probably recognize.
    It sounds something like this (hands clapping).
    Highly syncopated, (Dembow rhythmic music)
    immediately kinda makes you
    wanna nod your head and tap your feet.
    And, for at least the present moment right now,
    this Dembow rhythm seems a surefire way
    to get yourself a top song.
    - [Narrator] That's Nate Sloan.
    He's a musicologist and the host of Switched on Pop,
    a podcast about the making and meaning of popular music.
    - If we look at some of the top YouTube videos,
    they have global elements within them.
    Ed Sheeran's Shape of You, for example,
    is all constructed around the sound of a kalimba,
    which is an African thumb piano.
    The top YouTube video of all time right now, Despacito,
    features a Puerto Rican guitar in the intro,
    this very characteristic Caribbean sound.
    And, then Gangnam Style, which has no English lyrics
    whatsoever except for the titular chorus,
    is a huge hit and that's because
    we're more and more interested in global sounds.
    We're not just confined to the music
    of our own culture today.
    - [Narrator] YouTube is accessible to anyone around the world.
    So, if you expand your sound to be more global and inclusive
    your chances of a hit song might increase.
    - If you want a viral hit, you're gonna have to reach
    beyond your immediate culture.
    - [Narrator] Okay, we've got some ingredients
    needed for the song, what about the video?
    - If there were a formula for success on YouTube,
    I'm sure someone would've patented it by now.
    To sound a bit old school about it,
    talent still matters and the ability to present yourself
    or to present what Simon Cowell would famously call
    the X Factor, the qualities of a star,
    both in terms of your ability to play, your ability to sing,
    your ability to present yourself compellingly.
    These factors all matter the same as they always have.
    - [Narrator] Even if the video doesn't hit a billion views,
    and odds are that it won't, don't be discouraged.
    The video is still going to represent you and your music.
    - Some artists who have succeeded because of YouTube
    have done it, not so much by creating
    their own music videos,
    but using YouTube as, in effect, an audition reel.
    A&R teams now scour YouTube looking
    for the next major pop star.
    Your video doesn't necessarily have to be polished
    to make you a YouTube star.
    - [Narrator] Justin Beiber's first video
    was just him singing on his couch.
    It led to him being discovered by Usher
    and becoming a worldwide pop star.
    (somber piano music)
    ♪ Eh oh ♪
    (Nate laughs)
    ♪ Eh oh ♪
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