Day 6: What Does it Mean to Get a Million Views?

What does it mean to get to a million views on your Youtube video?

Ask me this a few months ago and I would have had no idea. Yet a couple weeks ago, a Youtube video of mine actually accomplished this feat. In fact, today it is rapidly approaching 1.5 million views.

You can watch the video here. It is a Charlie Chaplin film clip I recorded my own piano score to … four years ago ( I wrote about it during my first 365 Day Blogging Project: see “Day 37: My Collaboration with Charlie Chaplin”). Up until a few months ago, the video was mostly behaving like my other videos… that is, not getting lots of views! That started to change the beginning of May, when the video reached 100k views in only a few days.

It has not stopped since.

This has all been very interesting to me, and yes, fun! I had stopped thinking about the popularity of my Youtube videos since basically, they weren’t popular (I believe I had one video that passed 3000 views)! Instead, I used Youtube to put up videos on my website, and occasionally on this blog (like here, for example).

So naturally it came as a huge surprise (read: shock!) when all of a sudden the four-year old Charlie Chaplin video was suddenly getting tens of thousands of views every single day! In fact, when I first went to my Youtube channel and investigated why Youtube kept sending me emails about new subscribers, I did not believe what I was seeing.

It’s been a sort of magical ride the last few months watching the numbers climb.

So far the Charlie Chaplin video is the “Big Whale” of my Youtube channel , in the company of other videos that amount to small fish or even krill (!). Yet I have capitalized on the video’s popularity: my last five videos have all gotten thousands of views (two of them 13k and 25k views respectively) simply by linking to them on the end screens of the viral video. Smart move!

It’s also nice having more subscribers. As of this moment, I am closing in on 6000. Compare this to two months ago, when I had barely 100.

So what does it mean to get a million views? Well, certainly it adds to social proof (read: bragging rights). I have had numerous friends, family members, and students who are clearly impressed. It also looks go as a “resume” item of sorts, because these days, having a social media following can be a powerful tool for building a career and opening up new opportunities. Who knows? At this point, I’m just enjoying the ride.

An interesting aside: geographically, the video’s viewers comes primarily from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In fact, according to Youtube Analytics, over 70% of my viewers as of this writing are from these three countries (mostly India, with almost 53%). To which I reply, thank you, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh!

Interesting aside #2: the most common thing people ask me about my “Youtube Victory” (which I like to call it) is, “I wonder what happened to cause your video to blow up?” It makes sense that they would wonder, yet I have no answer for them. Well, I do have an answer, but I don’t think it would satisfy them. My answer is:

The Universe is a magical place, and this is the Universe’s way of telling me that it loves me and that I’m on the right track! Believe in your dreams, the Universe is telling me! To which I respond, I will. I love you! thank you, thank you thank you!

p.s. I am very clear that what is drawing folks to watch the video is not my music–lovely as it is–but the enduring popularity of Charlie Chaplin, especially in countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. To which I respond, “I will take it. And thank you, Charlie Chaplin!”

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