YouTube Rewind, the video platform’s big ol’ celebration of itself, has returned for 2019 – minus the elements which made the 2018 edition the most disliked content in YouTube’s history.
Packaged as a compilation of what YouTubers actually watched in the past 12 months, the clip ping-pongs between ASMR videos, vlogs, beauty tutorials, and yes, Shane Dawson‘s dramatic documentary series.
It also celebrates PewDiePie as YouTube’s most-viewed creator of 2019, following the guy’s absence in the past two years of YouTube Rewinds.
He also dodged the 2018 Rewind, despite his high-profile online battle with Indian music label T-Series in the race for 100 million subscribers.
In 2019, he’s front and centre.
Kevin Allocca, who leads YouTube’s culture department, told The Verge big changes – like PewDiePie’s inclusion – came after immense negative reaction to last year’s attempt.
That video, which featured a whole host of uber-popular YouTubers, was also peppered with celebrity creators like Will Smith. The inclusion of figures who didn’t rise to prominence as YouTubers was rejected by the platform’s most ardent users.
The 2018 video has a cool 17 million dislikes to 2.6 million thumbs up.
“The decision this year is to try to actually represent that directly and as accurate as possible with the things that people really like,” Allocca said.
That suggests YouTube is, essentially, too large to encapsulate in a short end-of-year video. This year’s Rewind seems like an attempt by YouTube to distance itself from claims of censorship or tonedeafness, instead allowing YouTube to be presented as it really is: a weird mish-mash of grown men yelling at video games, ascendant K-pop groups, Brazilian party houses, and at least one old man making slime.
Compared to Spotify’s end of year Wrapped feature, which tells users exactly how they interacted with a streaming platform, YouTube is now celebrating absolutely everything and nothing in particular. Whether that pays off is yet to be seen: at time of writing, 465,000 people have smashed the Like button.
800,000 have hit thumbs down.