Sunday, 3 August 2014

A West Midlands YouTube Top 50, as of August 2014

The 50 must viewed West Midlands acts; Laura Mvula is out on top. And look at all the death metal....

Every six months, I research the most-viewed numbers for local acts on YouTube. It's a weird kind of chart: at the bottom, people who have pulled in, seduced and nagged enough views to get past the cut-off point; at the top, BIG acts like The Editors and Laura Mvula. I've done this for long enough for some trends to emerge, although I would never lay claim to this being a comprehensive index of popularity. There's just too many wildcards. Scroll on down to the bottom of the post for caveats and analysis

But first, congratulations to the new leader....

Now, the basic rules...

  • West Midlands acts, who are still involved locally, only. Tax exiles excluded.
  • Proper videos only: smartphone and fan clips are out, official vids are in.
  • The two most-viewed videos uploaded within the past three years are counted.
  • Minimum total is 10,000. 
  • No live videos unless specifically commissioned.
  • Only one version of the song - no remixes.
  • No videos of full albums ripped to YouTube with just one image to try to score ad revenue.

Now, here's the chart. 

More analysis afterwards, if you're interested...

Act Video 1 Video 2 views
Laura Mvula Green Garden That's Alright 3,430,303
Oceans Ate Alaska Clocks To Catch A Flame 3,382,885
Editors A Ton Of Love Formaldehyde 2,718,723
George Barnett Swimming Pools Where The Devil Sleeps 1,692,727
Peace Wraith Bloodshake 1,453,203
Swim Deep Honey King City 1,415,754
Lady Leshurr Look At Me Now F64 1,036,487
The Enemy Like A Dancer Saturday 682,505
Napalm Death The Wolf I Feed Breed To Breathe 554,960
UB40 Blue Eyes Cryin' In the Rain - 506,326

Robert Plant Rainbow Promo for Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar album 490,817
Electric Swing Circus Penniless Optimist Everybody Wants To Be A Cat  425,283
The Twang We're A Crowd Mainline 210,817
Anaal Nakraath Forging Towards The Sunset Todos Sono Humanos 201,473
Dexys Incapable Of Love Nowhere Is Home 158,533
Templeton Pek Wake Me Up What Are You Waiting For 144,720
Jaws Toucan Surf Surround You 129,905
Mahalia Let The World See The Light Goldrush (with Ed Sheeran) 98,134
No Americana Washed Out Summer Wax Poetic 95,834
Troumaca Lady Colour Layou 93,191

Scott Matthews Myself Again Virginia (Guild Lounge) 75,282
Soweto Kinch Help A People With No Past 71,739
Superfood Superfood Bubbles 68,880
Claire Maguire Paper Thin Whenever You Want It 52,607
The Wonderstuff Planet Earth Oh No! 45,047
Musgraves Last Of Me So Sophia 43,651
Midnight Bonfires Lights Out Exhale 43,243
The Traps Calypso The Honeydrip 39,560
Destroyers Hole In The Universe - 37,042
God Damn Heavy Money I'm a Lazer, You're a Radar 29,402

Hanging Doll Carnival Of Sin Sacred and Profane 26,774
Rebecca Downes Basement Of My Heart When I'm Bad 26,449
Mistys Big Adventure Aggression - 25,001
Goodnight Lenin Wenceslas Square Record Store Day '14 promo 22,858
Malik MD7 I Bear My Soul Skooled By 21,326
ADO Power Waterfall 19,339
1 Eye Mr Bailiff - 18,830
Stone Foundation That's The Way I Want To Live My Life To Find The Spirit 18,290
Broken Witt Rebels Call Out The Sun All Worn out 18,189
Ali Campbell and Radio Riddler Purple Rain - 18,176

Dumb Dive Retina 17,495
Erica Nockalls Cut Them Out Manikin 17,056
Boat To Row Tightrope Grassmarket 16,116
DC Fontana Abbesses Pentagram Man 16,067
Old Dance School Swifts and Martins Chasing The Light album promo 14,874
Bluebeat Arkestra The Chillr Ghosts 13,663
Victories At Sea Future Gold Stay Positive 13,112
Xova 9 Lives Just Want To Be Famous 12,810
Brothers Groove Treat 'em Mean My Guitar 12,279
Friendly Fire Band One Drop it Like It's Hot (Sam Redmore mix) Welcome to Holland 11,340

Don't take this too seriously...

Now, I realise that, chart rankings aside, this is major geek territory. But it's also very interesting. The chart itself should be taken with an industrial-grade pinch of salt. Why?

Well, because YouTube counts aren't precise; I've seen figures go DOWN in a six month period. And the mechanism is generous to those with the tools and the chops and the money to make snappy videos. Don't let the 'accessible to all' vibe fool you: YouTube works best when you've got a slick package to push. 

So people who don't play that game lose out by this metric. Soweto Kinch has two 'straight' videos in the chart, but he's also all over YouTube doing some fine rap battles, cut live and raw. But there's so many of them that the impact is diluted.

YouTube can be hyped. Dig around, and you'll find outfits who will give you views for cash. I don't think that applies too much at this level, but it just might be present here or there. Look at the top, and there's evidence aplenty of big record company support. 
Except that George Barnett doesn't have that support, and he's up there, and with a rotating repertoire at that. Everybody else mainly leans on their same two biggest videos. So don't let them tell you it can't be done. 

Trends and patterns

Putting the four series of rankings together over the two years (February 2013, August 2013, and February 2014) you can start to spot some rough trends. A lot of bands - not all - seem to surge forward, and then... run out of steam. That's sad, but inevitable. Others sit on the chart until their videos get past the three-year cut off point, and they have nothing to replace it with. 

It's also fascinating to see how some underground genres have big followings: Look at the string of death metal and black metal bands. Equally fascinating is how loyalty can apply - or not apply - to older acts with fresh videos. There's UB40 and Robert Plant doing very nicely, thank you. Dig around and you'll spot others who aren't doing so well. 


Finally, two more geeky charts, looking at how acts have prospered, both in terms of increased numbers and increases by percentage, Here's the top 15 winners for each:

Percentage increase
Number of views increase
UB40 95.42%
Laura Mvula 613,046
Mahalia 60.73%
Editors 596,451
Dumb 41.20%
Oceans Ate Alaska 455,242
Superfood 41.15%
George Barnett 374,687
God Damn 38.03%
UB40 247,233
Jaws 34.85%
Swim Deep 238,246
Brothers Groove 29.28%
Peace 142,765
George Barnett 28.43%
Lady Leshurr 69,264
Editors 28.10%
Electric Swing Circus 56,334
Laura Mvula 21.76%
Mahalia 37,079
Broken Witt Rebels 20.99%
The Enemy 34,947
Swim Deep 20.23%
Jaws 33,570
Troumaca 17.59%
Superfood 20,082
ADO 15.69%
Dexys 18,910
Oceans Ate Alaska 15.55%
Troumaca 13,937

And if for some reason I'm missed anyone out.... yikes! My bad. Drop me a note through the blog contact page, and I will fix things. 

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Lydia Glanville (Boat To Row) said...

I'm delighted to see Laura Mvula doing so well and glad we still made the cut now our oldest song doesn't qualify. I see you mentioned buying YouTube views. A good way to spot this is the YouTube comments/likes vs number of views!

Radio To Go said...

Lydia - that's fascinating, and very useful. Thank you. I will investigate :-)