97% Positive Ratings on YouTube!
There are different ways to measure the success of a YouTube music channel. Obviously, there is the overall view count. For popular music, these can be extremely high. For example, Marshmello's song "Happier" at the time of writing has over 214 million views on the Vevo YouTube channel. A folk music channel like mine will of course have far fewer views, being less mainstream. My most viewed video of all time is a tutorial on how to play "Whiskey in the Jar" on mandolin. It has around 955,000 views. I'm quite proud of how many of my videos have over 100,000 views: there are 6 at present.
Another way to measure the success of the content, though, is the ratio of positive ratings to negative ones. Lots of people may watch the videos, but do they like what they see? I just crunched the numbers for my channel over the 11 or so years it's been running. My likes to dislikes percentage is 97%. The Marshmello "Happier" video has a roughly 98% approval percentage. I guess we're both doing all right. My approval rating took a hit on several of the Irish videos very clearly because viewers saw the name "Bard of Cornwall" and assumed I was from Cornwall, England (I'm from Cornwall, Canada). In other words, many dislikes seemed to be political in nature. But, then again, I have several videos with up to a hundred likes and not a single dislike. For example, "Black Is the Colour," now has 131 likes and no dislikes. That's pretty nice!
Yet another way of measuring the success of a music channel is the subscriber count, of which I currently have over 22,000. Again, that's nothing to sneeze at for a traditional folk music, independent channel. I doubt I'll ever get a YouTube golden play button, though.
So, what's the bottom line for my musical activities on YouTube? Overall, I'm quite pleased with the support I've received from the international community of folkies, and I don't plan to stop uploading folk songs anytime soon. Some of the lesser-known songs I upload get fewer views and likes, but that won't really affect what I upload. I always learn and upload songs that I like personally, and the viewer counts are an afterthought. Of course, I'm glad when people seem to like the music like I do. In the end, I do my channel for the pleasure of sharing folk music with others, not for money or fame, and even after a decade as a YouTuber, I'm still going strong. Thanks to all of you for your support!
Thoughts on music and performing by Canadian singer-songwriter Jesse Ferguson.