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The YouTube Media Channels Phenomenon Research Paper


The YouTube channel has been in existence since early 2005 and has over the years been gaining prominence as more online users get to use it on their day-to-day activities (Elliott para 1). Owned by the leading global internet search engine Google, the YouTube website provides a platform for individual users to upload video content and share it with other users across the world.

YouTube is the world’s leading avenue through which any individual can gain fame quickly and easily. This research paper offers an elaborate discussion of this phenomenon, providing existing examples of how individuals and groups have managed to achieve fame out of using the website (O’Malley, para 4).

Description of the Phenomenon

The beginning of the phenomenon

YouTube was founded in February 2005 by three individuals; Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim (Elliott para 5). The three worked as employees of the global money transfer company PayPal. The website immediately grew in popularity as it registered an increased number of daily views, with more online users preferring it as the channel of choice. The growing popularity prompted the global internet search engine Google Inc. to acquire it in October 2006 at a fee of $1.65 billion (Elliott para 7).

Why people are so interested in the phenomenon

The growing interest to use YouTube is particularly being fanned by its global outreach (O’Malley para 1). Content uploaded on the channel can reach hundreds of millions of users across the globe within a short time. Thus, the fact that such a significant across-divide audience can be reached within a short time makes the phenomena the most preferable and interesting in trying to pass information or creating awareness.

Google has also made the service more interactive and easy to use, thus attracting even greater interest from users. People are required to follow easy sign-up steps to create their user accounts from which they can upload videos. On the other hand, viewers can easily access uploaded content by entering their search terms on Google and picking on the search results displayed by the engine. Handheld devices with browsing capabilities, such as smartphones and tablet devices, have incorporated YouTube.

This means more people can now access the website from whatever location or time and check on the video contents that interest them. It does not cost anything for users to upload or access content on the website, apart from the normal internet charges. This factor has attracted more users as using the website’s service is relatively cheap.

YouTube also enjoys the ability to embed its content on other popular sites that are not necessarily focused on video contents (O’Malley para 8). Websites such as Twitter and Facebook have become very popular among users from all over the world since the internet is fast becoming a platform for social interaction.

People have virtually been tied to their social website accounts, making countless visits daily. The YouTube audience has, therefore, been enlarged by the fact that content on the website can still be accessed by individuals without necessarily logging onto the official website.

Changes influenced by the phenomenon of the music market and society

Before YouTube’s founding, music artists depended on television channels to air their music videos before they could build their fame and reach their targeted audience (Masnick para 2).

If a TV channel did not consider an artist’s video to be of any significance, it implied that such an artist did not have an alternative channel to reach the market. However, the music industry has particularly been revolutionized with the introduction of YouTube. Artists can now shoot their music videos and upload them directly on YouTube without having to rely on TV channels (Masnick para 5).

To the audience, watching music videos of their favorite artists is no longer a costly affair that requires them to visit music stores and buy the content saved on DVD. Instead, the content can be downloaded directly from the YouTube website, reaching an infinite number of fans across the globe. As more fans get the opportunity to sample the music video of their artists well in advance, it offers the musicians an opportunity to reach their target markets and make a business out of their efforts.

One other aspect that has been revolutionized by this phenomenon is advertising. Marketers have discovered the power of YouTube in terms of reaching a huge audience and are making use of it to create awareness of their products or services (Masnick para 8). YouTube content that particularly gets viral remains as marketers’ top priority as they seek to advertise their products or services alongside it to reach the huge following.

Examples of this Phenomenon

Gangnam style

The Gangnam style is a song by South Korean singer Psy. The song was released in July 2012. Gangnam style has particularly been propelled into fame by YouTube since its release, with Gruger (para 1) pointing out that the music video for the song became the first to surpass the 1 billion views mark. Psy has since become an icon in the world following the success of Gangnam Style video on YouTube.

The international fame that Psy is currently attracting contrasts heavily with the figure he cut before the release of his hit single. Although Psy has been in the local South Korean entertainment scene for a considerable time, his Gangnam Style’s record-breaking performance on YouTube has been the main reason behind his rising global fame.

Gangnam Style is currently influencing cultures around the globe, with the particular dance moves executed by Psy becoming a phenomenon. The record YouTube views of the music video have led to the song and the artist behind it being recognized by the Guinness World Records.

The fame has further been extended to the MTV Europe Music Awards, with the Gangnam Style music video winning the best video category for the year 2012. The official Gangnam Style dancing has been successfully exported to famous dancing spots across Europe’s and other global cities, including Paris and New York (Falk para 1).

Leading global personalities have also interacted in one way or another with either the Gangnam Style itself or with the singer behind it. Psy received the endorsement of Ban Ki-moon when they met in late 2012, given Psy’s potential to reach a global audience. Otherworld political leaders, including US President Barrack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, have also hailed the popularity enjoyed by Psy, terming it as a force that could propel global peace (CRI para 17).

Pop Band Karmin

Karmin is an American pop band that consists of two singers, Amy Heidemann, and fiancé Nicholas Louis Noonan. The duo’s breakthrough to fame was particularly influenced by YouTube in 2011. Their main role of singing cover songs of tunes by other world-renowned singers, such as Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown, and posting related videos on YouTube catapulted the band into fame.

Although the duo has been singing cover songs for long, their success on YouTube was not an instant occurrence. The duo’s previous cover song videos could not exceed the 300 views mark on the online video platform. According to Murphy (para 6), their cover song video of “Look at Me Now” that was originally done by Chris Brown has been a great success on YouTube, with its current online viewers reaching 77 million.

The growing fame of the pop band has seen it achieve greater heights, including a chance to perform at the Dick Clark’s event on the New Years Eve. The event was organized by the ABC network between December 2012 and January 2013. In May 2013, the band performed a TV commercial for Coca Cola’s bottled water brand Dasani.

Karmin’s popularity has mainly been influenced by their idea of uploading their cover song videos onto YouTube. As the Los Angeles Times (para 1) reports, growing popularity has seen the band attract hugely established record labels and producers in the US, including Epic Records, Warryn Campbell, and Kane Beats, among many others.

These established industry players have, in turn, offered the duo the real opportunity to launch their music careers into the mainstream music market. They are currently a force, particularly in the American scene as their popularity continues to rise.

The idea of focusing on cover songs and relying on YouTube played a critical role in helping the band break into stardom. People searching for the original song by Chris Brown on YouTube were instead redirected to the cover song by Karmin.

Given that Chris Brown is already a well-known name in the entertainment industry, his videos have a vast following an audience across the world. Thus, these huge numbers of followers got the opportunity to discover Karmin even though their initial intentions were to watch Chris Brown’s videos. Such an opportunity to grow their fame would not have been available to the band had it not been for the convenience of YouTube.

However, unlike Psy’s Gangnam Style, Karmin’s popularity has not extended into the international stage. Their popularity is still contained within the US, although they are still growing. Their YouTube statistics remain inferior to the magnanimous views recorded by Psy, although it is still evident that they are a popular outfit.

Alex Day

Alex Day is a UK singer who currently brags of being the first artist to break into the Official Charts at position four. The British singer began making YouTube videos at a tender age of 17. His growing views on the channel prompted YouTube to enter a partnership deal with him in 2007 that would allow advertisements to appear alongside his videos. Lindvall (para 5) estimates that the revenues earned by the musician stand at $1 per every 1,000 views.

The musician takes a maximum of three hours only to record his music videos and upload them on the website using YouTube. The phenomenon has seen Day register three hit songs that were listed among the top 40 hits in the UK. He owns a YouTube channel that has amassed up to 700,000 subscribers, with views exceeding the 100 million mark (BBC para 2). It is worth pointing out that the singer’s significant fan base, which is all courtesy of YouTube, has been the main power behind his success.

Day’s “Forever Yours” hit single that was released during Christmas in 2011 highlights his YouTube-driven fame, which is particularly a phenomenon. The hit single performed well on the UK Singles chart, attaining the number 4 position, and in the process outperforming other singles by internationally renowned artists even without enjoying the benefits of TV coverage or a record label (Big Top 40 para 1).

Day’s style represents a revolution that has seen the YouTube phenomenon stamp its authority in terms of building famous and popular music artists. A day does not require any TV channels or record labels to market his songs as has been the traditional practice in the industry. Instead, the established TV channels, record labels, and producers are the ones seeking to sign the superstar to boost their business ratings following the big success already achieved by the musician.

The Internet and its Re-organizing Power

Types of Internet Relationships


The internet offers a viable platform from which people can form friendships. These kinds of friendships act almost in the same way as pen friends, where geographical barriers are overcome to allow people a chance to interact. Such internet friendships are built through sharing of common interests, hobbies, as well as passion (Lifestyle Lounge para 2). With the advent of YouTube, it is possible for friends to exchange videos for watching, although virtually, how their friends look like in the actual sense.


People who are introverted, with socially isolated personality, find the internet to be a perfect platform that enables them to meet people from the opposite sex (Lifestyle Lounge para 3). In a real-life situation, people with this kind of personality trait would find it too challenging for them to bond freely with those they aspire to become friends with.

Couples can meet through dating sites and develop their relationship into a marriage, especially if they find out that they share the same characteristics and ideas. Partners now have the option of uploading their videos and exchanging them through YouTube to appeal more to each other.

Emotional Relationships

People with greater emotional needs are finding the internet as an effective alternative to seek emotional support. Although the emotional feel offered by the internet may tend to be less efficient over time, it serves the purpose efficiently, particularly in the initial stages when one is in real need of support. It is more practical to find emotional support from others without appearing to be more demanding due to virtual nature of the internet like would be the case in a physical real-life situation (Lifestyle Lounge para 4).

Extra-Marital Affairs

Dissatisfied married couples are resorting to the internet in pursuit of solace following their troubled marriage relationships. Such dissatisfied couples begin interacting with members of the opposite sex over the internet for sexual relationships since the internet is virtual and does not reveal people’s identity (Lifestyle Lounge para 5).

Advantages of Internet Relationship

The internet is a virtual platform that allows users to overcome physical barriers, such as distance to interact with others. It is, therefore, of benefit to the users as it offers an infinite avenue through which people can communicate and share ideas with others (Charminger para 1).

Internet relationships are playing a critical role in eliminating traditional vices such as tribalism or racial discrimination (Charminger para 4). People meeting through this platform consider each other as worthy humans and relate well with them.

Disadvantages of Internet Relationship

While people may use the capabilities of the internet, including exchanging their video footages through YouTube to enhance their relationship, it is not easy to prove the reality of such information. It is possible for an online friend to upload videos of somebody else in a bid to influence the friendship and compel the other party into accepting to relate together. However, the authenticity of such details or information can be difficult to determine unless people are able to meet physically.

Although the internet expands the boundaries along which people can interact online, it compromises other aspects such as ethics. An online friend may resort to uploading pornographic content on YouTube, for instance, without considering what the other person’s feelings or morals grounds could be (Lifestyle Lounge para 6).


YouTube is an online website that allows users with access to the internet to upload and view video content. The website has particularly become significant in propelling singers into stardom and global fame, where their music videos can still reach an unlimited number of the audience without relying on TV channels or the established record labels. South Korea’s artist Psy has established himself as a global icon following over one billion views that his Gangnam Style hit single has attracted since its release in 2012.

The American pop group Karmin has also established itself as well-known name household name in the entertainment scenes after uploading videos to their cover songs of popular renditions by renowned artists. The online platform continues to sustain relationships virtually across the globe because of its extensive outreach and great convenience to the users.

Works Cited

BBC. “Alex Day.” BBC. 2013. Web. 19 Jul 2013, www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/3895e55b-fed3-482d-9651-77e3e9f2d7ae

Big Top 40.Top 40 Chart. This is Global Limited. n.d. Web. 19 Jul 2013 http://www.bigtop40.com/chart/archive/2011/51/

Charminger. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Relationships.” SciaGa. 2013. Web. 19 July 2013, http://www.sciaga.pl/tekst/88904-89-advantages_and_disadvantages_of_online_relationships

CRI. “2012 Review: Gangnam Style.” CRI. 2013. Web. 19 Jul 2013, http://english.cri.cn/7146/2013/01/18/2702s744116.htm

Elliott, Amy-Mae. “10 Fascinating YouTube Facts That May Surprise You.” Mashable. 2011. Web. 19 Jul 2013, http://mashable.com/2011/02/19/youtube-facts/

Falk, Tyler. “Gangnam Style and Asia’s Rising Cultural Influence.” Smart Planet. 2012. Web. 19 Jul 2013, http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/gangnam-style-and-asias-rising-cultural-influence/8414

Gruger, William. “PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ Video Hits 1 Billion Views, Unprecedented Milestone.” Billboardbiz. 2012. Web. 19 Jul 2013.


Lifestyle Lounge. Internet Relationships. 2013. Web. 8 Aug. 2013, http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/internet-relationships-11024.html

Lindvall, Helienne. “Alex Day, YouTube Phenomenon, on Building Fans and Making Money.” Guardian. 05 Dec 2012. Web. 19 Jul. 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/dec/05/youtube-phenomenon-alex-day

Los Angeles Times. “Karmin Drops Covers, Finds Success with Album ‘Hello’.” Los Angeles Times. 2012. Web. 19 Jul 2013, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2012/05/karmin-finds-success-with-hello.html

Masnick, Mike. “How the Record Labels Spurned the YouTube Opportunity.” Telegraph. 2009. Web. 19 Jul 2013. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/6832196/How-the-record-labels-spurned-the-YouTube-opportunity.html

Murphy, Samantha. “Pop Band Karmin: Getting Famous Via YouTube is Hard.” Mashable. 2012. Web. 19 Jul 2013, http://mashable.com/2012/12/20/karmin-band-youtube/

O’malley, Gavin. “YouTube is the Fastest Growing Website.” AdAge. 2006. Web. 19 Jul 2013, http://adage.com/article/digital/youtube-fastest-growing-website/110632/

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