One of the most powerful ways a talented star-to-be becomes known is by putting his or her unique spin on a hit song and simply pressing "upload." Below, a few highlights from the first decade of creative covers and collaborations on YouTube:
In 2011, when a multi-talented couple covered Chris Brown's "Look At Me Now" with spunk and a stripped-down hip-hop sound, the world listened, lifting the duo known as Karmin to fame. Quickly after, Karmin signed to Epic Records, released an EP in 2012 that peaked at 33 on the US Album chart, and topped singles chart with "Hello" and "Brokenhearted." Still on an upward trajectory, they’ll release their second album this fall.
In 2012, Lindsey Stirling, a female violinist from Santa Ana, California, emerged as a rising star after collaborating with Pentatonix on a cover of the Imagine Dragons hit "Radioactive." (That was after being told she wasn’t "good enough" on "America's Got Talent," Season 5. Thank goodness that didn’t stop her.) She’s since started a channel on YouTube that’s grown into a force backed by over 6M subscribers, placing her in the top 25 trending music channels on YouTube.
When the songs of Frozen hit YouTube in late 2013, "Let It Go" became the anthem for people of all ages, but no one cover hit the top spot. Instead, another song from the movie -- a wistful duet between two sisters -- became one of the biggest covers in the history of YouTube. That’s thanks to a talented family and film crew called Working With Lemons. They brought that duet to life in music vid form with their rendition of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" (which is now at 139M views and counting). The family continues to cover and parody more songs from Frozen and Tangled for their 400,000+ subscribers.
Check out our Spotlight Playlist for more from YouTube’s talented collaborators and cover artists:
In the past 10 years over 5 billion hours of beauty tutorials and explainers have been uploaded to YouTube. That’s about 100,000 years worth of contouring, eyelash curling, makeup reviews, and hairstyle how-tos.
And today, beauty tutorials are among the most viewed instructional videos on the platform, due in part to the intimate, immediate access they provide to the world of beauty. For the first time ever, every makeup artist, hair stylist, beauty guru, and his/her unique techniques and experiences are available to anyone who wants to look and feel their most fabulous -inside and out.
Among those gurus are the prolific Michelle Phan and the U.K.’s most popular beauty creator, Zoella. For Zoella in particular, her 7.8 million subscribers see her as a role model they can trust—and whose closet they’d love to raid. In the five years since she launched her channel, Zoella has also found widespread success offline, first by starting her very own makeup line and then by publishing a novel that surpassed even J.K. Rowlings’ debut in first-week book sales.
Through these accessible and personal how-tos, YouTube also provides a space for previously under-represented beauty communities to take center stage. Shameless Maya is one beauty creator who gives the African American community guidance on how to style curly hair. And the one and only Bunny Meyers (Grav3yardgirl) proves that personality is the most essential ingredient of any and every look. And that’s truly a beautiful thing.
In the spirit of celebration, let these classic tutorials make your world a little more creative and a little more gorgeous, just as they did for millions of other viewers:
By the time you’ve finished reading this post, YouTube viewers around the world will have watched just about 2.5 years worth of animal-related videos. From corgi stampedes, to otters holding hands, to tiny hamsters going on dates, screaming goats, lions, crocodiles, even buffalo battling it out in the wild—still one of YouTube’s earliest and most memorable hits - pet and animal videos stand out as a classic YouTube genre loved by viewers everywhere.
And then there are the cat videos. Everybody’s heard the joke that YouTube’s success is owed to our feline friends. And while this isn’t quite true (little known fact: dog video searches began surpassing cat searches back in 2010), we proudly dedicate this first birthday post, in part, to those tabbies that continually warm our hearts and touch our funny bone.
Indeed: there are approximately 10 million cat videos on YouTube right now, meaning the world has uploaded an average of one to two cat videos per minute over the last 10 years.
For some, one upload leads to global stardom. Grumpy Cat, for instance, was featured in two New York Times best selling books and a Lifetime movie starring Aubrey Plaza. The Keyboard Cat meme, a 2007 video showing a cat playing the piano, has become so popular it made appearances at the MTV Music Awards and The Colbert Report. Nothing less than trailblazers, these kitties paved the way for cats such as Maru, Lil Bub, Colonel Meow, and Simon’s Cat to become some of today’s biggest stars on YouTube.
So, from surprised kitties to talking dogs to sassy honey badgers, thanks for sharing all that’s awesome, “awwww” worthy and awe-inspiring about our dearest furry friends.
Here are some highlights from the wide world of the YouTube Animal Kingdom:
On April 23, 2005, history was made. An 18-second clip about how cool elephants are was shot at the San Diego Zoo and uploaded to a then-private video sharing site called YouTube.
That May, YouTube launched in beta before becoming available to the wider public six months later. Ten years have now passed, and that site has grown to become not just the biggest video platform on the web—a community of more than one billion people, where hundreds of millions of hours of video are watched and billions of views are generated every day —but one of the largest and most diverse collections of self-expression in history.
And 10 years in, you continue to redefine how the world experiences music, entertainment, and news. How the world laughs and how the world learns. How we shape political events and how we connect over the things we love.
So in honor of our 10th birthday, we’re celebrating you, our YouTube community. Every day over the next 26 days, we’ll take a look back at some of the most memorable moments, from the silly to the profound, that you’ve shared on YouTube in the last 10 years. It’s YouTube from A to Z. Literally.