Home > 2011 Posts, About Dave > YouTube Anthropology

YouTube Anthropology

An idle pass through YouTube a few days ago made me curious. What types of stuff gets watched and Liked and Favorited and draws the most comments? There are no stats I could find.

So, I tried a sample and fiddled with it in Excel for a bit. The results shouldn’t have surprised me but did. Of the top 28 most watched videos of all time, 4 out of 5 are music videos and the rest were a scattering of one-off, human interest stuff like Evolution of Dance.

Vids in my sample had six billion views among them, with Justin Bieber snagging 1 in 5—far more than a billion—for his four clips. Lady Gaga came in second and well behind at a paltry 680 million views for her three songs. J Lo had around 300 million views for just one post, while Bruno Mars and Miley Cyrus each had roughly the same for two each of theirs’.

But…  a year ago, YouTube passed two billion views a day and was climbing fast from one billion per day a year earlier. So, my ‘all time’ sample represents a mere two or three days of viewing at current rates. That makes Justin Bieber’s huge number just a tiny blip in overall viewing.

So, what’s all that say? Maybe three things: 

  1. Kids (and the unemployed?) flock to free music videos
  2. Viewer interests are hugely fragmented
  3. Now, I’m interested in what stuff snags comments (more on that in a future post)

In another ahem… purely anthropological vein, Hyuna, a young Korean pop star has one of the most viewed videos this past week, Bubble Pop, with over six million. It’s fun to watch and she’s a beautiful girl, but the anthropology part is how the clip mirrors American youth culture, except far less trashy. Far less.

And, it’s nice to know that it was shot only 30 miles from that thriving, content Peoples Paradise, North Korea, where Social Justice has been perfected. Now, even the Army is starving.

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