Jan 17, 2016


Welcome to my blog, "Navigating Youtube with a Violin"! In this introductory post, I'll be explaining what this blog is all about.

My name is Jeffrey, and I've been posting violin videos on Youtube since 2011. While my videos have not gone viral or anything, I've gained some valuable experience with filming, recording, and editing. However, something I've noticed over the years is that the most viewed videos on YouTube often aren't the highest quality videos. Many violin videos that had millions of views were somehow poorly filmed, out of tune, and completely unedited. How could this be? For a long time, I couldn't wrap my head around it. I viewed it as unfair, and struggled to understand why some competitor channels were suddenly gaining subscribers at an exponential rate.

But after I took a relatively long break from YouTube and came back, I started to see all the other factors involved in reaching more people on YouTube. How did it suddenly make sense to me? It happened when I saw a similar "unfair" trend within my own channel. Looking at my old videos, I noticed that my audio-only violin cover of Clocks by Coldplay was receiving more views than all but one other video on my channel. How was this possible? I had dozens of other videos that had taken countless hours to film and edit, yet this audio-only cover that only took a few hours to make was doing far better in terms of views. I clicked the analytics on the video, and saw that most of my views were coming from YouTube search. Terms like "clocks violin", "clocks violin cover", "clocks coldplay violin", and countless others. Intrigued, I searched "clocks violin" to see if my video would pop up on google. Surely enough, it was there. Why? I was one of the first few people to make a violin cover of Clocks, and thus accumulated many views from people's searches. After my video was highly viewed and rated, I was also able to stay up there in the search even after other people made violin covers of Clocks years later. Hence, Clocks became my most viewed video.

So to summarize, why did Clocks receive so many views despite there being no video footage at all? Because I was one of the first violin covers of Clocks.

Once I realized this, I started seeing more and more factors (aside from video/audio quality) that would affect the number of views of a video. Here are just a few off the top of my head (the terms on the parentheses are any of my videos that my relate to the factor— if they don't make sense, they will make sense in the future as I make blog posts about them):

1. Video publishing date (Clocks)
2. Relationship to Trends (John Cena, Star Wars)
3. Popularity of original (Silent Night vs Fireworks)
4. Number of shares/up-votes on Facebook/Reddit/Imgur/Tumblr (Star Wars)
5. Relationship to other popular videos (Kiss the Rain and Sungha Jung Version)

Basically, after years of video-making, I finally forced myself to accept the reality— the quality of a video affects its number of views, but also the day the video was published, the relevancy the video has to trends and other videos, the number of times the video is shared on social media, and the popularity of the video topic. I had ignored marketing for years, and thus my channel never got really big.

Now, in 2016 however, I've faced the truth and am starting to make videos again. In my most recent Star Wars video, I raised the quality of production, but also tried to stick it to a trend, publish it early, and ask friends to share it abundantly on social media. So far, it's been working. In the first week since uploading, the video has received nearly 9,000 views. This has been my best video on my channel by far.

So back to the point— why am I writing about all this? I think the main purpose of this blog is to help you understand how YouTube really works. I'm still no expert on how to make a viral video, but my experience has helped me to at least gain a better than average understanding of YouTube. If you are a relatively new YouTuber, I hope this blog will help avoid some of the mistakes I made and help save you some time. For the rest of you, I hope you find this blog interesting and hope you'll end up with some more knowledge and understanding after each post.



  1. Hi Jeffery
    My violin students love your video. Is the print version of the arrangement available? carybelling@mac.com

    1. Sorry, I played it by ear so there is no arrangement!