According to Fact5’s video “5 Most Viewed Videos on YouTube,” the top five most viewed videos are all music videos. The correlation between sound and vision creates for the ultimate sensory experience.
If an artist can create a visual that fits perfectly with sound, then he or she is rewarded with billions of views. It is important to try to encapsulate the sound through the images presented on the screen, but before that happens, the song has to move people.
Here’s what you can take away from the top five most popular YouTube videos of all time.
1. Be the exception to the rule.
Psy’s “Gangnam Style” video is still number one because it came out of left field. No one was expecting it, and if a musician can create a song that makes people want to dance, then he or she is in a place of power.
This song spoke the universal language of fun, and the video followed by being as whimsical as the track itself. Psy has been trying to follow his own formula since the success of the release.
2. Pay homage to great artists before you.
Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth came together for the Furious Seven soundtrack to pay a tribute to the recently deceased Paul Walker with “See You Again.” The video has garnered more than two billion views likely due to an emotional response from the song itself and the images of Walker.
It doesn’t hurt that the song was also attached to a blockbuster film.
3. Go old school.
Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson teamed up for “Uptown Funk,” which used many production elements reminiscent of Prince and Morris Day.
The sound was funky and added a new twist to the sound that came before it, but the video itself embodies the vibrant style of the past.
4. Be extravagant.
Taylor Swift’s opulent video for “Blank Space” comes in at number four for most viewed video of all time. Shot on a gigantic estate, Swift destroys classic cars, takes picnics, and rips up paintings of her onscreen lover.
Swift loosely addresses her critics and past lovers, while doing it in style.
5. Be honest.
The relatability in Adele’s “Hello” has captured an international audience. Viewers find the song about a lost love relatable. The video is fairly sparse and exists more to make the song itself shine.
The lyrics of honesty in contemplation over past lovers come through, and that’s why it is in the top five.
There are a variety of ways musicians can tap into the hearts of viewers through their videos. Whether the goal of the video is to be sparse so viewers focus on the song, or to remember a star that has passed away, if there is heart in the idea, the viewers will come.
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Will Randick is a blogger and educator working out of the Bay Area.