YouTube Rewind 2019 – A Refresh or a Recycle?

YouTube Rewind is a mashup video which looks back on each year, published to 1.9 billion logged-in users on YouTube. The latest spin comes after the disastrous 2018 video which ironically became the most disliked video on the platform, triggering a much-needed change in approach.

YouTube decided to look back on 2019 with the best-loved videos of the past year, marking the milestones hit by users of the site and achievements across the globe. The video opens with text: “In 2018, we made something you didn’t like, so in 2019, let’s see what you DID like. Because you’re better at this than we are.”

What follows is a compilation of 2019’s greatest YouTube moments, as voted by responses from the platform’s users across the year. Viewers are taken through a countdown of the top 10 most liked videos, including the conspiracy theories by Shane Dawson which took the internet by storm earlier in the year.

YouTuber PewDiePie criticised the video, however, branding it ‘lazy’ for its simplicity, and releasing a version of his own called ‘YouTube Rewind 2019, but it’s actually good’. Tweets commenting on YouTube’s version asked: “Could this be the most boring thing possible?”

Though reviews emerging from the video were mixed, I subscribe to the thought that it was a positive step. 2018’s Rewind video currently has 17 million dislikes and while playing it safe after such a flurry of criticism may not be the most entertaining move, it worked best to preserve dignity.

This year’s choice can serve as a lesson in the creation of content. Today’s social sphere allows users across the globe to have their say on topics and content far and wide, so why not credit the engagement that propels the platform forward across the year in its summary?

Love it or hate it, this year’s video reflects the ratings and activity seen across the platform in 2019, lending a voice to those who shared their views over the year. Content creates itself sometimes, and to leave it to the people to decide what’s best to look back on is a sensible option for YouTube to take.

While some may remain underwhelmed by this year’s video, the lesson is that you must listen to what your customers want.

You don’t always have to push invention. The results often speak for themselves. In my view, YouTube deserves credit for letting them speak at a proper volume.