It is an interesting study to look at what videos are the most popular on YouTube. The most viewed video on YouTube ever is the music video “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee with over 5 billion views (that’s almost one view for every person in the world). In fact, 93 of the top 100 viewed YouTube videos are music videos by recording artists.
My family has enjoyed watching videos by The Piano Guys on YouTube. The Piano Guys make paino and/or cello recordings of both contemporary and classical songs in very picturesque settings. Their most popular video is A Thousand Years with over 135 million views.
A few people at Maker Faires have asked me if I have seen the Marble Machine by Wintergaten. This is a huge wooden contraption that plays music by bouncing marbles off resonator bars. As of this writing, this video has over 82 million views.
Compared to all of the above, my Build Your Music videos are pretty small peanuts. A lot of people think the robotic xylophone is a cool project, but it’s not the “amazing, I’ve never seen this before” that it takes to go viral. I will also be the first to admit that I just don’t have the resources that it takes to make truly professional videos like the ones that I reference above.
The other day, I went to my YouTube page, just see see which videos were getting the most views. Not surprisingly, the majority of my videos are still in the single digits. I was thinking that the most viewed video would be my introductory video which is shown on the Home page of this website. However, I was quite surprised when I saw that my most viewed video was the xylophone playing Mr. Bojangles. With only 700-some views it is still not anything to brag about. But is is interesting to note that it has almost 6 times as many views as what I considered the “main” video of this project.
I started digging into the YouTube analytics, thinking that perhaps there was some blogger that had picked up on this video, and was showing it embedded from an external website. However, I saw that 97% of views were on YouTube watch page (in other words, people finding the video directly on YouTube). I also noticed there was never a sudden spike or peak in number of views. The views seemed to be fairly evenly spread out going back to February when I first posted the video.
You might be wondering why I have the name “Billy Joel” after the song name in the video title. Well for all of the music videos, I try put the name of the artist or composer after the name of the song. Back when I was in college, I had a roommate who listened to Billy Joel almost non-stop. On one of his CD’s, he sang the song Mr. Bojangles. So being not exactly the most literate person in popular music, for all these years, I had it in my mind that Billy Joel was the one who wrote Mr. Bojangles.
While investigating why this particular video had so many more views than the others, I did a little research and learned that the song Mr. Bojangles was actually written by Jerry Jeff Walker for his 1968 album by the same title. But since that time, that song has been recorded by over 50 different artists, including Billy Joel.
I did a Google search for “Mr. Bojangles Billy Joel”. Sure enough the video of my xylophone playing this song was the number one result.
Likewise, when I do YouTube search for the same words, my project video again comes up as the #1 hit. It looks like I am not the only one who associated the song Mr. Bojangles with Billy Joel. Anyone who searches for this song and this artist together with find the video by Build Your Music.
Normally, when I put content out there on this website, I go to great effort to make sure that everything is accurate. I will always correct mistakes when I become aware of them. But in this case, I think I will just leave the song Mr. Bojangles with the name Billy Joel. It’s pretty cool when a mistake works out in your favor. This misunderstanding of song attribution is giving me exposure that I would never have expected. I wouldn’t want to mess it up. Am I right?