YouTube marks eight years in action this month and has now released up-to-date figures on its uploaded content. With more than four days’ worth of video uploaded each minute, we list eight YouTube personalities we believe have helped to drive the site’s popularity with uploaders over the years.
YouTube first launched in May 2005 and we celebrated its eighth birthday at the start of this month with a run-down of the site’s eight most popular videos.
We already know that YouTube is visited by 1bn users every month, but the site has since revealed that a whopping 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. Driving those uploads are the YouTube personalities receiving millions of views and clocking up thousands of subscribers, inspiring other users to join in the video-sharing fun with their own vlogs, music videos, animations, parodies and webisodes.
Celebrating eight years of YouTube, we’ve selected eight of its most vital viral video stars.
1. Judson Laipply
Motivational speaker Judson Laipply is, for many, the original YouTube sensation. His Evolution of Dance video uploaded in 2006 received 70m views in less than eight months. At that time, it was the most viewed and discussed video on the social network and the No 1 top rated video. To date, Laipply’s evolving dance routine has taken viewers from Elvis to ’Nsync more than 213m times.
Uploaded: 6 April 2006
2. OK Go
By now, it has been established that YouTube is the new MTV for a digital native generation. Vevo is by far the site’s most popular channel, streaming 4bn music videos to viewers each month, and many artists have their own YouTube-hosted Vevo channels.
But we think OK Go deserve kudos for cracking the YouTube music video audience with a viral hit. Having first experimented with a low-budget music video for A Million Ways that earned the American band attention from YouTube users, they went on to fully realise the site’s potential with the treadmill-dancing spectacular ‘Here It Goes Again’. Now, 17m views later, the band continues to experiment with new media to get their music to a wider audience.
Uploaded: 26 February 2009
3. The Lonely Island
While we don’t doubt that the comedy-musical stylings of The Lonely Island would have gained popularity even without YouTube thanks to the collective’s appearances on Saturday Night Live, there’s no denying YouTube’s role in their stardom. Lazy Sunday, a parody song written for an SNL skit, gained notoriety – and more than 5m views – when uploaded to YouTube in 2005. This frustrated the copyright-holders at NBC who desperately tried to keep content from the show off the video-sharing site.
Thankfully, NBC execs and The Lonely Island realised what releasing these videos on YouTube could do for their and the show’s popularity and so we have a wide selection of hilarious parody songs with high-profile musical guests and a second album on the way this year.
Uploaded: 16 June 2009
4. Jenna Mourey
Don’t know Jenna Mourey? You may know her better as vlogger Jenna Marbles, her YouTube pseudonym for which she is now famous. Mourey’s laugh-out-loud rants and anecdotes have made her the most-subscribed-to woman on YouTube, with more than 8m followers, many of whom may have come across her channel via ‘How To Trick People Into Think You’re Good Looking’, which clocked up more than 5.3m views in its first week.
Mourey now earns enough money from YouTube to have quit her day job and make videos full time. An inspiration to YouTubers worldwide, she paid a visit to Ireland in March this year to pick up the James Joyce Award from University College Dublin and the Bram Stoker Award from Trinity College Dublin.
Uploaded 9 July 2010
5. Antoine Dodson
A house intruder and attempted rape is nothing to sing about, but Antoine Dodson’s interview following his sister’s ordeal at Lincoln Park, Alabama, in 2010 has become embedded in pop culture thanks to some auto-tune magic from The Gregory Brothers. The resulting iTunes track reached No 89 in the Billboard Hot 100 and Dodson reportedly earned enough from sales of the song to move his family out of the projects.
Uploaded: 31 July 2010
6. Michael Stevens
For every YouTube detractor that claims the site is just full of inane, cutesy animal videos (and we admit, there are a lot), we give you Michael Stevens, creator of Vsauce – a YouTube channel that makes you think. Thought-provoking Vsauce videos attempt to answer all sorts of questions – from What Color Is A Mirror? to Will We Ever Run Out of New Music? – and each of these can easily score a million views in the space of a week. Vsauce now has more than 3m subscribers and a number of spin-off channels, and Stevens recently partnered with Euronews on its new science and technology-focused Euronews Knowledge channel.
Uploaded: 30 November 2012
Fact is, it would be impossible to compile a list of YouTube’s greatest video stars without including South Korean singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer, record producer and TV personality PSY. The madcap music video for Gangnam Style is the most-watched video on YouTube ever and the first to have passed the 1bn views milestone, which it did late last year. His follow-up Gentleman has made records of its own, achieving the most views in 24 hours after uploading. But PSY’s most crucial accomplishment on YouTube has been ensuring that the video network is more than just a haven for Beliebers.
Uploaded: 13 April 2013
8. Jason Sullivan
And, finally, we have to give a shout-out to a YouTube sensation from the homeland: Jason Sullivan, also know by his pseudonym Andrew James but best known as the creator of Sminky Shorts. The Cork artist’s animations offer up a distinctively Irish flavour of comedy for the YouTube audience and it’s said that a series is in development, which could explain the channel’s lack of activity in recent months.
Uploaded: 28 May 2012