YouTube's Trending Game of July

What YouTube Can Tell Us About Pokemon Go

After just a few weeks, it’s clear “Pokemon Go” is big. But just how big is it? We asked the YouTube data, and can confirm that “Pokemon Go” is a unique video game phenomenon like no other.

We compared the launch week of Pokemon Go’s with the launch week of other blockbusters from 2016. We found that the launch of “Pokemon Go” received twice as much watchtime as “Overwatch,” and three times as much as “Tom Clancy’s The Division.” Overall, since launch, “Pokemon Go” has racked up millions of hours of watchtime and consistently been one of the top 3 games on YouTube (trailing only “Minecraft” and “Grand Theft Auto V”).

One interesting video related to “Pokemon Go” on YouTube is the 2014 Google Maps April Fools’ Day prank, which received a sharp uptick in views and watchtime since the game launched. Other hit videos include PewDiePie’s “Is Pokemon Go Going Too Far” with nearly 10 million views, Feranfloo’s Spanish “Capturando Pokemons En La Vida Real” with 9.2 million views, and a whole slew of musical tributes.

Early on in “Pokemon Go,” all players must swear allegiance to one of three teams - Team Mystic, Team Valor, or Team Instinct. We wanted to use YouTube to see if we could determine which team was the most popular. We found that, in terms of search queries, Valor jumped out to an early lead but was soon overtaken by Mystic. They’re currently running neck-and-neck, both ahead of Team Instinct.

It’s hard to believe “Pokemon Go” has only been out for a few weeks, and it will be some time before we have a full sense of it’s impact on gaming and culture. But if there’s one thing we can already say for certain it’s that, based on YouTube searches, the Pokemon theme song is back. And that’s the way we like it.

-- Jeff Rubin

YouTube's Trending Games of June

How Musician Maggie Rogers Landed a Viral Hit on YouTube

In the past two weeks, Maggie Rogers’ "Alaska" has been one of the fastest-growing songs on the internet: in just 20 days, it amassed millions of streams across the web. But one month ago, she was completing her undergraduate courses at NYU, like so many other aspiring student-musicians.

The story begins with a video posted to i am Other, Pharrell Williams’ YouTube channel. Two months ago, Pharrell hosted a masterclass at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, and student Maggie Rogers’ work-in-process track, “Alaska,” was featured in the final segment of a 30-minute clip.

Maggie Rogers in a masterclass hosted by Pharrell

While the masterclass itself received media attention, Pharrell’s segment with Maggie Rogers, 18 minutes into the video, went undiscovered. Noticing a special moment where Pharrell describes Maggie’s song as “nothing I've ever heard before,” Reddit user “TheLatchKey” posted it to the hip-hop community of the site with the title “Such a genuine reaction from Pharrell to an amazing song (skip to 18:15),” which linked to Maggie Rogers’ specific segment of the video.

The renewed focus on Pharrell’s stunned reaction to Maggie’s “Alaska” led to an avalanche of attention: the video reached the front page of Reddit, received tens of thousands of shares on Facebook and Twitter, and received write-ups on Digg, Jezebel, Elle, Mic, and USA Today.

Building on the buzz, Maggie released the fully mastered “Alaska” two weeks after her initial encounter with viral fame, which was rapidly picked up by outlets such as The LA Times, Vulture, Slate, and Spin. The song has since inspired countless covers, remixes, and even a how-to tutorial on YouTube.

In one month, and rather unexpectedly, the YouTube video has put Maggie in the spotlight. The whirlwind of attention has music publications like Pitchfork asking “Now What?”

Quite a feat for a student who, only weeks prior, was taking notes from one of today’s greatest producers.