What makes a video successful? Some videos posted on Youtube have reached 1 billion views and it is certainly an amazing number when you think about it, we are about 7 billion on earth, so this means that 1 out 7 people has watched it,… of course it is far from been true considering that Adele’s fans must be obsessively watching her videos on YouTube, even before having their cup of morning coffee, but it’s still impressive.
But seriously, this Adele video for ‘Hello’ hit the billion-view marker in just 87 days, which is an incredible record. Polygraph made the graph above considering 17 videos for 17 famous songs, in order to compare how long it took for each of them to get one billion views. And there is something remarkable going on: from 2010 to 2015, there is a clear evolution, it takes less and less time to reach the big number as the majority of the songs released in 2014-5 only took a few hundred days to do so, ’Hello’ being exceptionally fast, whereas it took 1400 to 1900 days for older songs to reach a billion views. But there is also the ‘Gangnam Style’ exception, which went viral in just 158 days in 2012.
Why is it faster and faster? Polygraph asked the question to different bloggers and for Sandra Hong of Girl Party, ‘video has an increasingly important role in our lives.’ … ‘The extrapolation of the 12 song album into seeded, strategically timed singles alludes to more musicians paying attention to the art of video’. So are we back to the MTV days when videos were the shit? For Jim Babb of Part and Sum, this is due to ‘the increased “nowness” of culture’ and ‘the spread of always-on networks and technology’ and this is certainly a good point, do you remember an instant when you were not checking Facebook?
For Skye Rossi of Rhymesayers Entertainment, this can be explained because Youtube has become ‘the largest streaming music platform, although it’s not acknowledged as such – people still think of its video features first. Young people use YouTube more than any other service to listen to music’.
Eric Ruiz of Google / Waze thinks kids are becoming the mobile generation, ‘They’re the generation who skipped desktop and went straight to mobile. And when they made that jump, video was there in the form of YouTube, Snapchat, and Vine. Video is not becoming the norm. It is the norm.’
Incredibly enough, there are now more smartphones than people in the world and more phones means more video consumption. But Matt Daniels of Polygraph thinks this phenomenon will change a song’s legacy, ‘The tracks that take time to build and spread: they have different connotations than an ubiquitous #1 song. Will future generations respect “Hello”? Not if this generation never wants to hear it again.’ And he is probably right, if ‘Hello’ has reached 1 billion views in just a few weeks, the number hasn’t increased much since (1,2 billion 4 months later). We live in a society which consumes songs faster than ever and it will only go exponentially starting from today.
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