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Summer, Sun, Songs and Sport: YouTube January 2022 Trends

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Ash Chang talks YouTube January 2022 trends

January 2022… is it what we were expecting?

From a quick glance, it all seems like a typical Aussie summer:

  • Holidays are back on the cards: As the effects of the last two years of lockdowns and restrictions come to an end, more and more Australians have been itching to get out and travel. Planning getaways throughout our country, creators are sharing their explorations, like visiting Second Valley Beach in South Australia, or fishing in Hervey Bay.
  • A beloved annual tradition was back: Australian Lamb released the latest version of the satirical TVC (over 1M views) that takes the cultural temperature of the nation while also acting as a Trojan Horse for ravenous red meat consumption. This latest edition features Elon Musk (sort of), closeups of lamb chops (definitely) and a bevy of culturally specific one-liners that will make you proud to be a red-blooded, red meat consuming Australian (maybe).
  • We dominated the cricket: Australia's Ashes dominance (over 2.5M views) wrapped up in Hobart with a dead rubber drubbing of England who lost the series 4-0. The match was in the balance until a sensational (but not unexpected) second innings collapse from England saw them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So come for the highlights but stay for the comments trashing England.
  • Politics didn’t take a break: It's not every day that a two and a half hour Federal Court of Australia livestream (over 650K views) trends in multiple countries around the world but here we are. On the eve of the Australian Open, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic's bid to enter the country, um, double faulted, so it's no surprise that hundreds of thousands of tennis fans flocked to the livestream of his hearing. This video trended in both Australia and Djokovic's native Serbia as well as dozens of other countries around the EU. With the competition now over you can also watch the full men’s singles final (vamos, Rafa!) and women’s final (c’mon Ash!) on the Australian Open YouTube channel.

But let’s take a minute and dive deeper into the sea of YouTube, beyond the expected, to see what else has been shaping our start to the year.

Recently Trending Videos

An appropriately unhinged recap of Pretty Little Liars (Part 1)
10:25

Aussie creator Mike's Mic presides over your standard pop culture "commentary channel", but these recent videos (Part 1, 2 and 3), in which he breathlessly breaks down the plot holes, dead ends and red herrings in the Pretty Little Liars franchise, is anything but ordinary. I bring this to your attention for two reasons:

  1. This thing is so entertaining and chaotic you needn't have watched a single second of the YA fiction series turned TV show to appreciate how messy and convoluted the plot is.
  2. Each video is around two hours long, with the first installment in this series being the most viewed video on Mike's channel, suggesting that while short form might be the shiny new format, we should always remember why people love YouTube in the first place. Hint: it's a place where charismatic super nerds can make two hour long breakdowns of bad television that are watched by millions of people.
We (Force) Teach Davie504 to Play the Violin
10:25

If the success of the MCU has taught us anything it's that the world sure does love a crossover. So here's the YouTube creator musician crossover we never knew we needed, Aussie violinists TwoSetViolin teaming up with deadpan Italian bassist Davie504 (part of the 10M sub club, if you don't mind). You can also watch the TwoSet boys learn the sacrilegious "Smoke on the Water" on bass on Davie's channel, but I prefer this part in which the duo teach Davie how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on violin.

Nardwuar vs. Jack Harlow
10:25

Need a hit of serotonin? Look no further than the double golden retriever energy of this interview between charismatic US pop star Jack Harlow and the greatest music journalist of our time, Narduar. Narduar - perhaps the only person alive capable of out-awkwarding Harlow - does regular Narduar things while wielding the jaw-dropping prescience of someone with direct access to the secret service or the occult. Harlow, meanwhile, is living the dream, admitting that he grew up watching Narduar on YouTube just like the rest of us.

Recently Trending Shorts

Shorts brings the diversity of content on YouTube to life - from Tingman, a wholesome Rubik’s cube genius who brings his own spin to the world of cubing, to “Down Under”, a homegrown dance challenge where the moves are easier than eating a Vegemite sandwich (see examples from ReeNae and Tayo Ricci), or the ultimate in #couplegoals, Taz and Alessia, with their trends, skits and games, and creative expression with Sianan Scrivner, a talented, zodiac-loving makeup artist.

Beyond what we’re creating, here are some of the Shorts locals were watching in January:

  1. He went against a pro and came up clutch | #shorts - 40.3M views, channel: SportsNation
  2. This is a Morphed Axolotl - 9.5M views, channel: Aquarium Info
  3. MY WIFE IS MAD AT ME ALL THE TIME! #shorts - 7.7M views, channel: The Furrha Family
  4. Boy Breaks The Rules In Class, What Happens Next Will Shock You #Shorts - 6.1M views, channel: Luke Davidson
  5. Spider-Man, When He's at Home. (Behind the Scenes #24) - 1.4M views, channel: Daniel LaBelle Plus

Creators on the Rise

The Best POV Surfing of 2021
10:25

Surfing With Noz aka Noah is a Sydney based surfer who specialises in gorgeous POV videos, tutorials and product reviews. Check out the channel to learn how to install a tail pad or just get lost in the glassy barrels.

SIDETRACKED.AUSTRALIA - New Look, New Adventure!!!
10:25

Sidetracked Australia goes the road less traveled with beefy 4x4 modifications and installs, and touring videos capturing some of the most beautiful parts of Australia.

Spotlight

The Wiggles cover Tame Impala 'Elephant' for Like A Version
10:25

In a nostalgia-inducing meeting between songs we first heard ten years ago and songs we first heard when we were ten, The Wiggles took out this year’s triple j Hottest 100 with a cover of Tame Impala’s ‘Elephant’. To me it's interesting because a big part of the song's appeal is driven by the visual experience of the video itself and the giddy joy of watching a children's group rock out. triple j, oddly enough, is a radio station that makes great videos! Some other interesting tidbits: the two biggest days for video views of the original music video for Elephant by Tame Impala are the day The Wiggles cover was published on YouTube and the day it became number one on the hottest 100. A similar thing happened two years ago when a Like A Version cover of Rage Against The Machine's 'Bulls on Parade' by Denzel Curry landed in the Hottest 100 top ten and sparked the most views of the original ‘Bulls on Parade’ music video the day the cover was published.

My Pick of the Month

Julian O’Shea makes educational and entertaining videos about design, cities, interesting places and more - with videos exploring design decisions like why blue squares on power poles in Melbourne are saving lives landing him on our breakout creators list last year. This year he kicks things off by analysing why one of the most prominent streets in Melbourne, Swanston Street, doesn’t appear on maps.

*This is my 2022 New Year’s resolution: to spill a little digital ink on what's going on in this little corner of the internet. Pop by each month to read more about what’s happening on YouTube, and discover incredible new content and Australian creators.