How a Tweet From Taylor Swift Took a Video Viral
Our YouTube channel Reload Sessions has been going on for about 4 years now, we have created an online platform to allow developing and unsigned artists to showcase their talent to our audience. We have one requirement, to be able to cover at least one song as creatively as possible. We’ve been doing this for a few years now and have come across hundred of talented musicians and artists. Every now and then the artists of the song that is being covered comes across our videos and praises the artists that recreated their song, however we didn’t realise that one of those artists would be the global superstar, Taylor Swift.
Setting up our cameras and audio equipment in a beautiful church in Bethnal Green, London, we found ourselves getting ready for another session. The artist Jesse Will had scouted the location and we couldn’t agree more that it was a beautiful and fitting setting for his performance. We like to keep our sessions stripped back and so Jesse had only his guitar, a violin and his voice to help captivate our online audience. He was covering Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it off’, and was very creative with it. In comparison to the original, Jesse’s version had completely revamped the vibe of the original and at times the transformation was quite haunting. You can check out the video here if you’re interested.
A few days had passed after the release of Jessie Will’s video on our channel, it had got some attention from our current subscribers. They had voiced their opinions, liked it and had shared it on their own social media platforms. Then we were shocked to see none other than Taylor Swift had caught wind of the acoustic cover, it must have made an impression on her as she tweeted out to her 79 million followers, “My favourite covers are the ones where the artist has made it their own, changing the way the song makes you feel.”
Of course this immediately brought in huge amount of traffic to our channel, more specifically Jessie Will’s video. Overnight the video had an additional 50,000 views and it was rapidly rising. Now we’re still not too sure how Taylor Swift came across the video, but what we do know is that Jessie had tweeted out:
“Here it is @TaylorSwift13 - you’re gonna hate me”.
Could it really be that easy to show your work to a megastar? Social media platforms has definitely created a bridge between fan and artists, it has made it easier for the two to communicate with each other. Whether it caught Taylor’s eyes or someone from her team shared it to her, we will never know. One thing is certain, Tay Tay was impressed.
Stars such as Taylor Swift or Katy Perry command a presence, especially online. When they speak people listen, and oh how they listened. After that one tweet, blogs from around the world were sharing the video on their platforms, well known newspapers such as The Daily Mail and The Evening Standard were sharing it on their own sites too. Not only did it give great exposure to the video and our channel, it was giving exposure to Jesse Will himself. Which is exactly what we wanted, it’s the main reason why we created our channel, to support unsigned artists.
Statistically speaking, our numbers skyrocketed overnight. It felt something similar to being an overnight success. However I’ve always said success is never overnight, such as the famous quote says, “my overnight success was 10 years in the making”. Prior to Jesse Will’s video we had filmed hundreds of videos before, some were more successful than others. However, the other videos were nothing compared to the immediate surge of traffic that was seen with Jesse Will’s video.
Looking at the analytics of our YouTube account, you can clearly see a huge spike in comparison to the numbers that we were achieving before the tweet. In one day, our subscribers increased by a dramatic 5640%, now I had to double check that figure when I calculated it, but I can tell you this figure is correct. Seeing the spike on the graph is something, but understanding that our subscribers jumped up 5640% in one day put everything in perspective. This is the influential power of superstars.
During that week the video had topped all the lists of our statistics, it was the most viewed, most watched in minutes, most commented and every other statistic you could think of. It was great to see peers supporting us and recognising the feat we had achieved too.
The video was seen all over the world. Remember Reload Sessions resides in London, England, however it made it’s way across the world from Philippines to Brazil. One interesting place it did land on was ‘The Voice Australia’. An artist called Nathan Hawes had taken part on the TV show and had pretty much replicated Jesse’s acoustic cover, you can check it out here. It was disturbingly too similar for my liking especially when no credit was given to Jesse on the show, from the entire arrangement to the ad libs of Jesse’s voice you can clearly see that they watched our video. In a sense, it was a cover of a cover.
In the short term, Taylor’s tweet helped propel our statistics in views and subscribers to numbers we had never achieved before, especially overnight. Everything shot up dramatically, but alas nothing stays up forever. As time went on the relevance of the song and video started to diminish, the hype of Taylor’s tweet started was slowly fading and peoples attention were interested in the next big thing. This can be seen on the graph too, the sudden jolt of traffic and the steady decline back to our normal numbers.
In the long term, this event didn’t really impact the growth of the channel too much. It gave us a short intense burst of traffic, but as you can see throughout the years our numbers are rising at a steady rate. It was great to be involved in the hype, if we can somehow achieve numbers like this consistently that would be amazing. Sudden spikes on the graph are great and it does play into the overall growth of the channel, however consistency is important to us as well. Every now and then we get spikes in our statistics, sometimes that’s because we work with a more relevant artist, or maybe the cover of the song was good enough that people wanted to share it around. Although, I think it’ll take another superstar like Taylor Swift to share our videos again for us to replicate the numbers we did before.
Our channel is catered for the developing artist, we want to give them an online platform that’ll put them in the best position to showcase their talent with an audience that cares about their performance. In Jesse Will’s case we went above and beyond that, and I can only hope we’ll be able to do that again for the other aspiring artists we work with. As long as we help these artists and help develop them somehow in their musical journey, I’ll be happy with that.