Sunday, 16 August 2015

A West Midlands YouTube Top 50: August 2015

Here's the sixth bi-yearly local acts video views chart: who's making YouTube waves?

I do this ranking every six months. The exercise is starting to build up some long-term analysis potential. There's some interesting straws in the wind. I think YouTube viewing numbers are increasing overall, based on a rough analysis of upwards trends for many on the chart. But there are some caveats...

The headline? Laura Mvula still rules – just. But I think that she's going to be overtaken on the next chart by another spectacularly talented Birmingham woman who plays by her own rules. You may not have heard of her yet. But you certainly will.

On the verge of the big stuff...

This chart's big winner: Lady Leshurr. She has upped her game and surged, massively increasing her impact. 

The Rules

  • West Midlands acts still involved locally only. No tax exiles.
  • Real videos only: no smartphone and fan clips.
  • The two most-viewed videos uploaded in the past three years count.
  • No live videos unless specifically commissioned.
  • Only one version of a song - no remixes.
  • Single songs only.
  • Video numbers totted up at the start of this past week.

Health warning: YouTube numbers wobble.

They are inconsistent. And they can be fiddled. Up at the top of the chart, where the act is established, I don't think it matters much. Down at the bottom of the chart, where funds are tight, it's probably a non-starter too, because fiddling your numbers costs money. However, somewhere in the middle, where potential and dreams starts to turn into something which could be significant, is where there might well be hyping.

Different genres, different viewing patterns. 

Metal in all its variations does well. As does Rap. In fact, Hip-Hop/Rap does spectacularly well – take a look at the stonking numbers racked up by Lady Leshurr, with her new series of monthly videos, which is in itself a great idea, breaking out from the cycle of songs-which-need-videos. Nice production, very elegant but very cost-effective delivery, and material which strikes a chord. It's unique - because Lady Leshurr is unique.

Now... the chart

With links to all the videos 

Video 1 Video 2 Total
Laura Mvula Green Garden That's Alright 4,290,905
Editors A Ton Of Love The Weight 3,693,206
Lady Leshurr Queen's Speech Episode 2 Queen's Speech Episode 3 3,303,753
Swim Deep Honey She Changes The Weather 1,861,833
Robert Plant Rainbow Full Live NPR filmed show 1,844,581
Peace Money Bloodshake 1,697,493
Napalm Death The Wolf I Feed Breed To Breathe 1,117,028
UB40 Blue Eyes Cryin' In the Rain - 1,074,275
Oceans Ate Alaska Vultures and Sharks Blood Brothers 1,025,394
Malkit Singh Desi Beat Maa 662,931

Electric Swing Circus Bella Belle Valentine 556,308
Tom Aspaul Better By Your Side (with Aeble) Indiana 525,391
Anaal Nakraath Forging Towards The Sunset Idol 464,685
Mr Switch DMC Championships 2014 - 328,141
Dexys She's Got A Wiggle Incapable Of Love 266,081
Radio Riddler/Ali Campbell Purple Rain - 260,311
Jaws Surround You Stay In 242,607
The Enemy Like A Dancer - 219,462
Claire Maguire Paper Thin Changing Faces 208,013
Superfood Mood Bomb Bubbles 183,637

Matthew Socci Light In The Darkness Pour Out On Zion 183,430
Swami Do It Again Back It Up 118,295
Troumaca Lady Colour Layou 107,695
The Twang New Love Mainline 105,900
Ekkah Last Chance To Dance Figure It Out 91,721
Goldrush (with Ed Sheeran) 80,174
Scott Matthews Elusive Virginia (Guild Lounge) 69,580
God Damn Heavy Money Shoe Prints In The Dust 62,564
AKA George Intertia Hanging By a Thread 57,443
The Wonderstuff There There My Dear Oh No! 53,796

Templeton Pek Wake Me Up Slow Burn 50,238
Midnight Bonfires Lights Out Exhale 46,641
Rebecca Downes Basement Of My Heart Messed Up 45,718
Stone Foundation The Way I Want To Live My Life To Find The Spirit 42,331
The Traps Calypso The Honeydrip 40,570
Soweto Kinch Never Ending - 28,769
Broken Witt Rebels Shake Me Down All Worn out 27,801
Mistys Big Adventure Aggression - 26,901
1 Eye Mr Bailiff - 24,721
ADO Power Waterfall 23,381

Dumb Dive Retina 21,920
Erica Nockalls Cut Them Out Manikin 21,424
Under A Banner Some Stories Numbers 21,401
Johnny Foreigner Le Sigh Beatcast Special 20,293
Dissident Prophet Human 2.0 Like Lightning 20.090
Jet Pack Heat Of The Moment Back To Life 16,834
Goodnight Lenin Record Store Day '14 promo - 15,454
Victories At Sea Stay Positive Up 14,138
Dead Sea Skulls I Wanna Buy A Rolex Absent Ones 13,362
Boat To Row Tightrope Freedom 10,779

And two subsidiary charts

Here's who's put on serious numbers since February... Go Lady Leshurr! 

Lady Leshurr 2,862,342
Tom Aspaul 485,861
Robert Plant 492,134
Laura Mvula 402,390
Editors 369,891
Napalm Death 354,760
UB40 314,095
Swim Deep 223,283
Malkit Singh 189,787
Electric Swing Circus 188,340

And here's the best percentage increases in the past 6 months. Excellent work, Mr Aspaul.

Tom Aspaul 1,229
Lady Leshurr 648
Ekkah 211
Swami 132
Mr Switch 87
Anaal Nakraath 83
Superfood 82
Radio Riddler/Ali Campbell 76
Rebecca Downes 62
Stone Foundation 60


You might notice the absence of some relatively big local names. Interestingly, some people have taken the decision to remove older videos because they no longer represent what the artist is doing. Props to Aka George, who has killed all his earlier George Barnett videos, including his spectacular Get Lucky cover.

A few people have dropped out because their videos are now past the three year window I apply. And it's an indisputable fact that the past few years have been extraordinarily tough for local bands – so finding the money for new videos is hard and getting harder.

And, again, this only shows very rough trends – I'm not sure I trust all the numbers I see here. Especially as it's easy to manipulate things like viewing numbers.

But loyalty counts for a lot. UB40, Robert Plant, pretty much all the Death Metal crews, and the Editors will testify to that.

Percentages can be tricky - Tom Aspaul has done great because he is a featured artist on Aeble's fine recording. But well done Ekkah, Swami, Superfood, Rebecca Downes (coming in from a standing start last year), and Stone Foundation.

I may have missed something. I did last time out, until Casey Rain jabbed me in the ribs to remind me about Swami. If I've missed you out, and you think your videos qualify, then jab away... email me using the box at the top of the page.  

Lead photo by Justin Jensen on Flickr

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