A Tour Through Europe's Biggest Trending Videos in 2014

YouTube Rewind, our annual year-in-review exercise, offers many things: an excuse to produce epic videos, the opportunity to crown a mutant giant spider dog Winner of The Internet and the chance to check out singing nuns in Italy’s version of “The Voice”. 

The fun doesn’t stop there, as there are almost as many YouTube Rewind channels as there are countries in the world, each of them listing the Top 10 trending and music videos of the year. This means that you can discover that in France viewers fixated on rapping Mario Brothers, that a young girl talking to a chick stole Spanish hearts in 2014, or that Polish pranksters baiting police with cookie cellphones caught the country’s interest. You can also find out what happens if you feed Danish classical musicians super-hot chilis while they play, what different languages sound like to foreigners or even experience a Reindeer roadblock in Lapland — very festive, although the Finnish driver isn’t so enchanted.

There’s plenty more where that came from, so if you’re at a loose end come tour the world of video with YouTube Rewind. Who knows, you may even take a shine to Romania’s version of The Lonely Island… 

--Jamie Dolling, YouTube UK

Trending This Week: Rewind Through 2014

Here at YouTube Trends HQ, we’re in the extremely cozy grips of (non-denominational) holiday spirit, thanks to this resplendent Lil Bub Yule Log.

Here’s what made us feel jolly and elvish this week:

YouTube Spotlight - YouTube Rewind: Turn Down for 2014

We’re loathe to strum our own lute, but we can’t help but mention YouTube’s own end-of-year video, which is all about what trended in 2014. Featuring a whopping 120 creators and viral stars and a fair amount of limb-flinging to the hits of the year, might we humbly suggest that this mashup is a pop cultural must-see?

Connor Franta - Coming Out

There may be many coming out stories documented on YouTube (here’s a big playlist of them), but that makes each new one no less powerful, meaningful, and brave. This week, teen vlogging titan Connor Franta (he has more than 3.7M subscribers on YouTube) posted this moving, straight-to-camera announcement. It made a big splash: almost 4M views and a whopping 150K comments (most of which were positive and supportive). Congratulations, Connor.

Charlemagne Productions - Christopher Lee, ‘Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing’

Here’s a curiosity: 92-year-old "Hobbit" star Christopher Lee, the world’s oldest man known to sing heavy metal, has released a Christmas single. A holiday mashup of sorts, we can’t say it’s the most mellifluous singalong, but we got to hand it to the old metalhead: you’re more hardcore than pretty much anyone we know.

NASA - All About That Space

The NASA interns sure look like they’re having a blast! This unlikely Meghan Trainor cover has it all: rocket backdrops, nerdy puns, even nerdier choreography. It doesn’t exactly eclipse the original, but we still hope it takes off.

-- Claire Stapleton

10 Surprising Things That Happened in Music on YouTube This Year

Earlier this week, we shared our annual list of the top 25 music videos that made us wiggle in 2014. In sifting through the data, we also uncovered some surprising facts about the artists and songs that made a splash this year. Here are ten of our favorites, coming at you like a dark horse:

  1. These numbers don’t lie: 2014 was the Year of Shakira. With two songs in the Top 10 and more than 1.8 billion views to her channel this year, she was bigger than Nicki Minaj and Jason Derulo combined. Her channel also saw the biggest growth in views of any artist, year over year.

  2. Another Latin icon, Enriqué Iglesias, is also keeping the magic alive. With 1.5 billion views, he had more eyes on his channel this year than One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer combined (!).

  3. With nearly three-quarters of a billion views, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” wasn’t just the biggest music video on YouTube in 2014, it’s the biggest video on YouTube this year – period.

  4. While Katy Perry holds the crown for top video of the year, Meghan Trainor wins the prize for biggest breakout star. Since her channel launch in February, Trainor went from near obscurity to worldwide fame (and 400 million views) with “All About That Bass” - one of 2014’s top 10 music videos worldwide.

  5. India’s T-Series (a record label) is one of the 20 most popular channels in the world this year, with over 5B total views, thanks to favorites like “Baby Doll” and “Chaar Botal Vodka Full” from this year’s Bollywood hit, "Ragini MMS 2."

  6. Some might have called 2013 “the year of Yoncé,” but on YouTube, 2014 has been Queen Bey’s biggest by far, with her channel racking up well over 1B views this year alone.

  7. EDM music accounted for 50 percent of the top 10 live performances of the year, with Tomorrowland’s first weekend live stream receiving the most commentary - more than 1M comments over the course of the show - of any YouTube video this year.

  8. Since its debut in March, DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down for What” has inspired more than 20,000 tributes, parodies, and other demonstrations of getting #turnt.

  9. Though posted at the end of 2013, Pharrell’s “Happy” kept the party going well into this year, becoming the most liked (2.4M thumbs up and counting) music video of 2014.

  10. And how could we let this list go without a hat tip to "Frozen"? “Let it Go,” the Disney movie’s top musical number, was one of the most viewed and covered songs of the year, netting more than 1 billion views across its top 5 official YouTube videos.
-- Christine Huang, Bonnie Gleicher, and Claire Stapleton

Trending This Week: 'Star Wars,' Seinfeld, and Miranda Sings

With the year dwindling down to its last embers, we affixed our eyes to the screen and feasted on these viral beauts this week:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser

Unless you’re living in another galaxy, you’ve probably gotten wind that there’s a new "Star Wars" installment in the works. Released last weekend, the first trailer (aka 90 seconds of pure nerd bliss) was so widely viewed that Time declared that “basically everyone has seen [it].” It got 60 million views across the official trailers, and better yet, it’s been wondrously parodied and remixed: check out the Lego, Wes Anderson, and George Lucas fan takes.

Miranda Sings - Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - Jerry Seinfeld and Miranda Sings

What do you get when you cross a 20th century comedy legend with a tween idol? You get ... this. In the latest episode of his web series, Jerry Seinfeld enlisted Miranda Sings, an offbeat, you-won’t-get-it-but-your-kids-will character created by actress Colleen Ballinger, who’s a bonafide YouTube sensation with 2.7 million subs and counting. Apparently, Seinfeld’s kids begged him to collaborate with Miranda, and the pairing was a hit: later in the week, they took their bit to Fallon for a cringe-worthy (and great) game of Pictionary, which picked up over 2 million views.

One of the unique afflictions of life at YouTube is pervasive earworm (I’m looking at you, Meghan Trainor); nonetheless, we jumped at the opportunity to relive all the songs that got stuck in our head this year. The aptly named DJ Earworm has made an annual pop mashup for the past seven years, and this year’s installment is just as clever, nostalgic, and--yes--CATCHY as ever.

Brittany Boll - Waking up our puppy to his favorite song

We literally can’t let go of “Let it Go.” This year’s entry into the annals of "Frozen"-inspired video history features the film’s furriest, snooziest fan. Guess mornings never bothered him anyway :)

-- Claire Stapleton