Since 2014, the parody channel Without Music has been recreating music videos without the background music. Combining their vocal talents with their serious editing skills, the husband and wife behind the channel have earned more than two million subscribers. Their videos have only grown in popularity over the years.
Here’s how Without Music grew to be so successful.
They properly utilize the Fair Use Act.
YouTube takes its copyright policies extremely seriously, so other creators may wonder how Without Music is able to use footage from copyrighted music videos without being demonetized. Technically, the channel isn’t breaking any of the platform’s rules. The YouTube copyright policies cite the Fair Use Act, which allows for the use of copyrighted materials in certain circumstances.
You can read about the Fair Use Act in more detail here, but the most important element in Without Music’s case is transformative use. Artists and creators can use copyrighted materials if they transform it in some way, giving it a new purpose or character. This is exactly what Without Music does.
While the channel’s creators do record their own vocals, their videos aren’t intended to be covers. They transform the copyrighted music videos with comedic intent. While the Fair Use Act is interpreted on a case-by-case basis, Without Music has done an exemplary job of following it properly.
They work hard to create timely content.
Erik and Eline, the couple behind the channel, work hard to align their content with current trends. The songs featured on Without Music can often be found on the Billboard charts around the time of each video’s release. The majority of their videos feature pop songs, which have wide audience appeal.
Another smart move they make is choosing songs that have staying power. Rather than choosing a song that just dropped, they parody music videos that have already experienced a lot of popularity on their own. Then, as the song continues to dominate the charts, the Without Music version continues to get views.
They leave big decisions up to their audience.
Erik and Eline don’t decide which songs to parody on their own. Rather, they always choose their next video idea from the comments viewers have left on previous videos. They even begin each video with a collage of comments requesting that particular music video.
When the comments don’t seem to come to a general consensus, Erik and Eline put the most popular options into a poll. They post the poll on Without Music’s community tab. Then, viewers can vote, and the winning option will be made into the next video. You can see the winning poll featured after the collage of request in this video.
Without Music is so successful because the channel is built on teamwork. Erik and Eline collaborate on every video, but they also depend on help from their audience.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.