I first posted a video on YouTube as part of a discussion on a forum about fingerstyle guitar. A guy inspired me to record a video. But how was I going to send a video - too big for email, too tedious with ftp! He said "Use that new YouTube thing". I'd never heard of it, it had only been around for nearly a year when I created an account.
It wasn't until Sept 2007 that they started recording proper statistics. I do love a good statistic. Here is a simplified lifetime statistic for my Jawmunji channel:
But the graph shows a rise and fall. Currently I'm down to half of the views from where I started; and at 10% of my peak, and it looks like it is continuing to fall. Why? I have a few ideas:
- In the early days, there weren't many fingerstyle guitarists on YouTube. Now every second fingerstyle guitarist has videos on YouTube, so the viewers have a lot more videos to choose from. Supply and demand.
- You can see that more than a third of my views come from "Canon in D", so that one pretty much dictates my channel performance. Over the years, YouTube has featured that video, which drew far more views. None of my videos get featured anymore, see point 1.
- Most of my views come from YouTube/Google searches, so as each time they update search algorithms, it can cause a lot more views, or a lot less.
- I don't post as much now as did originally. YouTube "rewards" frequent posters, "engagement" is what's in, "social networking" is everything and that drives search results.
- YouTube is changing. It's more like watching a TV station than watching random videos. Since people can now upload videos as long as they like, it means that the total amount of time spent by people watching is no longer 20 x 2 minute videos, it is 2 x 20 minute videos. Less clicks, less "channel surfing". This change will be to increase income through advertising. YouTube/Google model people's behaviour, and tailor YouTube to drive (and reward) what works best for them. After all, YouTube is a business, that Google paid a lot for.
- YouTube isn't all there is. There are plenty of other places to find video. YouTube is the biggest (at 82% of the market Google tells me), so this probably isn't a major factor.
Getting views was never a big driver for me; I have watched it increase and decrease over the years with fascination, but the reality is that the conversations I have with just a few people are far more valuable to me than thousands of silent views. I did "monetise" my videos a while back, and I kind of regret it now. For the $20 a month I get, it's not worth making people watch advertising to see it. Too late now, I can't go back.
It's been an interesting project, and one that I will continue. I've got several songs I'm planning to record soon, watch this space.
I'm not exactly sure why I wrote article, perhaps it's just my love for statistics, and analysis of them :) But if you had ever wondered how my Jawmunji YouTube stats went over the years, now you know!