At least this one is good, contrary to YouTube’s failed attempt.
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As every year, YouTube has released their well-known “YouTube Rewind”, which, in theory, goes over some of the most important achievements of the platform of the current year, celebrating creators and the community. Except, in recent times, this has moved to essentially shilling for corporations and attempting to sell an image of the platform that doesn’t match the reality. This culminated with the disaster that was YouTube’s 2018 Rewind, managing to become the most disliked video on the platform.
For 2019, and seeing how high the bar had been set by their failure from 2018, YouTube decided it would be best to release a “Top 10” video, reminiscent of the “Watch Mojo” style, a popular channel of “Top” videos. While, arguably, this was a rather safe choice, it turns out this was not enough to satiate the anger of the community, especially after such a difficult year, where the company has been penalizing creators decision after decision, through poor support, mass demonetization, abusive copyright claims and new policies deleting some beloved content for no actual valid reason.
Last year, PewDiePie, together with a team of creators, being the popular… “meme channels” FlyingKitty, Grandayy and Dolan Dark, together with the music maker Party in Backyard, somehow managed to “save” the Rewind, by releasing their own version, “YouTube Rewind 2018, but it’s actually good” (or, in short, PewDiePie’s 2018 Rewind), which currently has around 70 million views and 8.8 million likes for 100K dislikes, a rather impressive like to dislike ratio. Seeing the mess YouTube made this year, the community had been asking, or, more accurately, pushing, for PewDiePie to release a new Rewind, attempting to eventually save this year’s edition too. This wish was eventually granted, with the release of “YouTube Rewind 2019, but it’s actually good” yesterday:
This year’s version follows the same structure laid out in the 2018 version, with music produced by Party in Backyard, and three different clips, each edited by a different “meme channel” (we apologize for this naming, but we are not sure how else to classify them), which already participated in the 2018 version. Of course, while all three clips are different, they follow a common theme, avoiding brutal changes between each of them. This makes for a more enjoyable watching experience. Finally, around the middle of the video, the creators paid homage to some important figures of the community. The 2018 edition commemorated, between others, Stan Lee, a name that needs to introduction, Avicii, Stephen Hawking or the eternal “number one”, Stefán Karl Stefánsson, the actor behind Robbie Rotten in Lazy Town. Meanwhile, this year’s edition commemorated “Dillon The Hacker”, which forms part of the PewDiePie “lore”, Grant Thompson, a YouTuber from the channel “The King of Random” or Etika, a YouTuber that ended up taking his own life.
The clips in themselves are a compilation of the most “important” memes of the year, some kind of compilation with heavy editing and often quite hilarious situations, such as Linus from LinusTechTips randomly appearing staring at a huge monitor with controversial Twitch streamer Alinity, the one that tossed a cat over her head, kissing Sonic the Hedgehog [at minute 5:59]:
Some might ask, where does PewDiePie participate in all of this? Well, the creator appears at the beginning and the ending of the video, and uploads it to his channel, which currently counts over 100 million subscribers, giving visibility to the overall creation, and likely sharing the revenue from it, if there’s any, seeing how much “claimable” content the video contains [Fair use? It appears some companies have never heard of this].
If we now focus on the performance of this video, at the time of writing this article, it has been viewed nearly 4 million times (3.9), and has 1.3 million likes for 10K dislikes, an impressive ratio some people can only dream to have, such as… YouTube themselves. Of course, and as per usual, the video isn’t on trending, which, at this point, should probably be seen as a sign of quality.
For those interested in the music included in this year’s “PewDiePie Rewind”, both tracks were made by Party in Backyard, as previously mentioned, with the first one being “Me and the Boys”, a reference to the meme of the same name, in this case with the team behind this video depicted:
The second music found in the video is “Highway”:
Since we have an opportunity to do so, we would like to talk about other rewinds, as PewDiePie is not the only one doing them. Other medium to large YouTubers have also done their own variants, with the… French [more like Japanese…] channel “Tev – Ici Japon” having released his own version of Rewind, which only covers the French community of the platform. The video currently has a bit less than 400K views, which is already quite decent for a channel having 487K subscribers:
Of course, for those unfamiliar with the French community of YouTube, this might as well be gibberish, which is understandable.
If we now look at the Spanish side of YouTube, which is often forgotten yet represents a very large and active community, the Spanish creator/YouTuber Alecmolon has released his own version, just as in 2018. While PewDiePie’s Rewind is mostly focused on memes of the English-speaking world, the Spanish version focuses, obviously, on the Spanish community, although the production quality is leagues ahead. While PewDiePie’s sticks to being a heavily edited compilation of memes, the Spanish version appears to go with a full-blown production, together with some kind of plot:
Sadly, and once again, for those unfamiliar with this side of YouTube, most of the people referenced or appearing in the video will be total strangers.
These two very different approaches end up with two very different Rewinds, making it difficult to compare them. While PewDiePie’s remains a more homemade version produced by a small group of content creators, Alecmolon’s (his real name being Alec Hernández) benefits from a full crew behind. The creator also mentions having spent 3 months working on this project, which, ultimately, is reflected in the final quality of the video. If anything, it is surprising “random” content creators are capable of producing much higher quality and much more appreciated videos by the community, rather than the people managing the platform itself, although, seeing how the people in charge have been running YouTube into the ground, this is unsurprising. Of course, we understand and are aware that YouTube wants to use Rewind as a promotional spot for their platform vis-à-vis of advertisers, but the way they’ve been doing it is definitely not the way it should be done.
This nicely leads to our next point, which is how one-sided the actual YouTube Rewind is, or, at least, used to be, as this year’s version not only was awful, but was also extremely forgettable. Past editions attempted to cramp as much content as possible in as little time as possible, fitting dozens of creators per frame, giving the viewer barely any time to process the scene and recognize the people in the shot, if they recognized them at all. Ultimately, this led to an unsatisfying Rewind that only covers part of the community, making it, as mentioned, very one-sided and unrelatable for a big part of the non-English community. The Rewinds mentioned in this article seem to point to the right direction on how to properly make a Rewind, by essentially producing a “national” or “regional” variant, encompassing a specific part of the community.
After all, while we were able to reference three different versions of the Rewind here, in three different languages, not everybody speaks multiple different languages, or, even if they did, they might not watch content in one of those languages, such as us, avoiding entirely the Spanish YouTube in general. Potentially, this is something YouTube might want to consider or look into, although finding an answer that will satisfy everybody appears to ultimately be impossible.
In any case, and to finish this article, we would like to give a quick shout-out to Truck-kun, with a rare image of PewDiePie before getting isekai’d: