Congratulations to Xiaonan, the talent behind the portraits featured on ThePortraitArt. This channel received the most votes for the December On The Rise poll, and will be featured on the YouTube homepage today.
Xiaonan Sun is a self-taught artist, and producing lifelike portraits is his passion. Since 2008, Xiaonan has used YouTube to document his talent through timelapse videos that showcase not only the final product but the full creative process. Some of his most popular pieces are pop-culture celebrity likenesses, but he also produces personal portraits by commission. And if you thought traditional portrayals and media were the limits of Xiaonan’s skill, you’re in for a treat: he can create the illusion of reality with his portraits, and he doesn’t limit himself to using simply pencils and erasers.

Here are a few words from our December On The Rise star himself:

I make my art videos to share my creation process, which I think could be every bit as compelling as the final product. But I also make these videos to relax your mind, calm your thoughts and uplift your mood. After all,  today's people are so often stuck in thoughts, dealing with its worries and day to day  concerns, that most rarely calm their mind down to feel the presence of the moment, which is the only thing there really is and ever could be. I want more people to be in this state more often, to see things not through the limited and rigid mind or the fearful ego, but through a heart that loves to express and create. I like to express my deep appreciation for all those who voted for me and watch my videos, and my sincere gratitude to youtube for  providing the canvas, for my channel is a drawing, and each video a stroke on its paper.

If you’ve enjoyed this monthly On The Rise blog series and want to see more rising YouTube partners, check out our On The Rise channel or look for our playlists on the browse page. Keep an eye out for next month’s blog post, as your channel may be the next one On The Rise!

Devon Storbeck, YouTube Partner Support, recently watched “Downhill extreme: Rollerman overtaking motocycle!

Plan to run a marathon in 2012? Go back to school? Ask your secret crush on a date?

It’s easy to come up with a resolution and enter the new year with high hopes, but the hardest part is often sticking to it throughout the year. To help you stay with it, we’ve got an idea — put your resolution on YouTube and share it with your friends using the #awesome2012 hashtag.

We’ll also be looking for five of the most interesting videos to feature on our homepage in January. Follow the instructions below and your resolution could inspire millions of viewers.
  1. Make a video sharing what you want to accomplish in 2012
  2. Outline your strategy and describe the steps you’ll take to reach your goal
  3. Upload it to YouTube by January 2 at Noon PT and tag it with #awesome2012
Need help getting started on your #awesome2012 action plan? One of our YouTube partners is here to help:

Cheers to an #awesome2012!

Danielle Paquette, Social Media Manager, recently watched all the videos on YouTube Rewind.

Over the last 20 years, Professional Bull Riders have turned a classic sport into a global league with more than 100 million fans tuning in from around the world. Now you can follow PBR on their YouTube Channel, for livestreamed events as well as original programming, interviews, highlights and your videos.

You can catch livestreamed events on:
  • January 6 from Madison Square Garden in NYC
  • April 21 from Des Moines, Iowa
  • April 28 from Uncasville, Connecticut
  • May 5 from Billings, Montana
  • May 18 from Pueblo, Colorado
  • And more to come
To get you ready to ride, here’s a quick look at the 2011 season:

See you in 2012!

Frank Golding, Director of Pro Sports & Leagues, YouTube Sports, recently watched “2011 Built Ford Tough World Finals highlights.”

In 2011, music videos were as varied as the artists who made them: we saw a string of videos featuring parties you wish you’d been at. On the indie circuit, found footage and ghostly, atmospheric imagery dominated the landscape. We also saw musicians get behind the camera and make some extraordinary self-directed music videos. This week we invited a musician who's ending up on a lot of year-end lists to share with us their year-end lists — and one from a record store for good measure.

2011: Merrill Garbus’ Picks
Merrill Garbus’ tUnE-yArDs may have been embraced by the indie community, but tUnE-yArDs isn’t your average twee indie pop. If anything, Garbus is the antidote to twee: she’s got a big, blowsy voice and she explores its range with refreshing abandon, edging into abrasive territory in a way that is curiously not abrasive. She’s also profoundly influenced by African music, and you can hear itthatin the layered chirps and coos of some songs, which draw directly from the Central African pygmy vocal tradition. Yes, heady stuff -- but Garbus also loves her dance music, and that’s why her album w h o k i l l has connected on such a visceral level with so many fans this year. (It sounds like very little else in any genre.) We were intrigued to know what music inspired her this year; her choices may surprise you.

2011: Amoeba Music’s Picks
Last but not least, California’s largest independent music store employs a small army of music nerds. In one fell swoop of collective bargaining, they agreed on their 22 (22!) favorite music videos of 2011. Nobody has their fingers in as much music as these folks; consider this a quick primer on some great music that you might have missed.

See you in 2012!

Sarah Bardeen, Music Community Manager, recently watched “Favorite Albums of 2011.”

One person can make a difference. Just ask Geoffrey Canada, an education reform advocate whose groundbreaking work in Harlem schools set a precedent across the United States. It’s even inspired U.S. President Barack Obama to apply his model to cities across America.

On December 28 at 3:00pm PT, Geoffrey Canada will deliver a keynote speech about education reform, hosted by Capella University and streamed live on YouTube. The keynote presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on critical issues with leaders in the field of education reform, including Dr. Steve Perry and Dr. Christy Hovanetz. The panel will also answer questions submitted via YouTube here.

In the meantime, here’s some of Canada’s past work:

So check out the live event at 3:00pm PT on December 28 on Capella University's Inspire Ideas YouTube Channel, and we hope you enjoy.

Jen Howard, Education Director at Google, recently watched “YouTube for Schools: Join the Global Classroom Today!

Have some free time this week? Think you can find the next singing sensation, viral video like Charlie bit my finger or Surprised Kitty?

Then come play YouTube Slam—a video discovery experiment we cooked up with folks from Google Research. Each week a new crop of videos battles head-to-head in Comedy, Cute, Music, Bizarre and Dance Slams, where your votes determine who wins the Slam and gets featured on the leaderboard.

Earn points for predicting the crowd favorites, and see how you stack up against other players at the end of each week. Get your daily dose of the most talented, hilarious, adorable or weird videos on YouTube, and you could help uncover the next big thing.

You can also subscribe to our Slam channels to see each week’s video leaderboards: Comedy, Cute, Music, Bizarre or Dance. Pick a Slam and start playing!

Tomas Izo, Software Engineer, recently watched “Brick By Boring Brick: Paramore (Storm Kaden Cover)” via YouTube Slam.

From squabbling over the family holiday photo, to filming a child unwrapping a dream toy, ‘tis the season for recording cherished family moments. Whether you want to share them with the world, or keep them in the family, here are tips for using YouTube to record your family’s memories:

Save a few Christmas trees, and send a holiday video card.
Compile your family’s favorite moments from the year, add season’s greetings, and blast it out to your family and friends.
  1. Keep videos short—around a minute or less—and mix film and photos
  2. Use the YouTube Video Editor to edit your video after uploading
  3. Include a link to your video and send to your online address book in seconds

Use YouTube as an archive for your favorite holiday memories.
YouTube makes it easy to share your videos just with family or friends by letting you keep your videos private, which makes sure it doesn’t appear in searches.
  1. Set your videos to Private and designate specific people who can view it
  2. Keep videos Unlisted where only friends and family with the link can view the video
  3. Use descriptive titles so you can easily search through your growing online catalogue
Is your hilarious holiday moment the next viral video on YouTube?
If you’re not shy about sharing your holiday moments and others love it as much as your family, you could possibly be invited to earn money from your video (helpful for future holiday shopping).

Check out holiday hits from years past for some ideas:

Jessica Mason, communications associate, recently watched "Project for Awesome: Water and Victoria Secret."

With only two weeks left for submissions to Ads Worth Spreading 2.0, TED is asking for your support in their search for innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising. The dream behind the initiative is to find companies that want to communicate ideas to their consumers in the same way that TED wants to communicate with its audience.

What makes ideas powerful is that they have a life of their own; an idea can reset someone’s worldview and even begin a domino effect as they pass it on to friends. Ads Worth Spreading is TED’s initiative to recognize and reward innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising -- the ads that people want to see, and share with their friends.

One of our favorite entries so far has been Chipotle's "Back to the Start" campaign, which champions the idea of a return to small, sustainable farming.

Another lighthearted piece we love comes from UK brand Cravendale. "Cats With Thumbs" has the kind of creativity and humor that inspires people to share an ad with friends.

YouTube has been helping to promote and showcase the Ads Worth Spreading entries online with a dedicated channel at Visit the channel and upload your video, or simply add your existing YouTube video to the channel before December 31, 2011. Agencies, brands, producers and individuals are invited to submit their best work of 2011. There is no fee to enter work. Submissions must be: less than five (5) minutes in length, created and aired between January 2011 and December 2011, and entered by an authorized agency, brand or producer. We look forward to seeing the submissions continue to come in!

Ronda Carnegie, Head of Global Partnerships at TED, recently watched, “Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world.”

This is part of an ongoing series sharing tips from the YouTube Creator Playbook, a resource of best practices and tips you can start using on your channel and videos right away. As we move along in this series, some posts will be focused for more advanced YouTubers or YouTube Partners, like this week’s tip.

With YouTube seeing 48 hours of video uploaded every minute, it’s important to think how you can get your content seen by your regular and new viewers. In many cases, thumbnails are the first point of contact for your channel and a relevant thumbnail can make the difference for someone about to watch your (awesome) content.

Thumbnail Basics
During the upload process you have the opportunity to pick one of three frames from your video, or to upload a custom image file. For either option some basic best-practices can be applied:

1. Your thumbnail should look good, either scaled small or large
  • Faces work better and engage the audience
  • Visuals of the finished product work better than the process (e.g. show the cake, rather a picture of the batter)
  • Good thumbnails follow the same rule as good photographs - composition, contrast, and color count
Average Betty (food)

2. Choose images that accurately portray your video’s content
  • Accurate thumbnails allow viewers to more easily browser and enjoy your content.
  • Misleading thumbnails lead to poor audience engagement and will hurt your channel’s performance in the long run
  • Safeguards are in place to find and penalize channels that upload racy thumbnails—take a look at our Community Guidelines for more information
TMZ (entertainment)

3. For channels with the ability to upload custom thumbnails, upload a high quality image
  • There is no limit on pixel size (though 1280x720 is recommended)
  • The image file has to be less than 2MB
  • Accepted file formats: PNG, BMP, GIF, or JPEG
vsauce (multiple genres)
Thumbnail Placement
Thumbnails for your videos, playlists and even your channel are used throughout YouTube to promote your content. Some common placements for thumbnails are in search results, along the far right column of your video’s Watch Page, on your Channel page, and in the video player after a video stops playing (the video’s end card). Through these placements viewers can discover your videos, playlists, and channels.

You also should try YouTube Analytics to understand and measure the impact of these tips, and to learn more about thumbnail optimizations and other tips, check out the YouTube Creator Playbook.

Andres Palmiter, Audience Development Strategist, recently watched “Todd Kuiken: A prosthetic arm that ‘feels’.”

Editor’s note: Yesterday, we looked back on the “most viewed” YouTube videos of 2011. Today, we invited Advertising Age’s Michael Learmonth to reflect on the most viewed video ads of the year.

We always knew people liked to watch the ads. At least some ads, like the great ones people talk about after the Super Bowl. Then YouTube came along in 2005 and brought with it the notion that ads can be great content that earn their way onto screens of all types, spread by consumers who vote, share, like, comment, blog, plus-one, or even create response videos or spoofs.

YouTube is the ultimate meritocracy for video, and advertisers are adapting to this world by creating content that people want to share. It’s no surprise, for example, that among the top-10 most-watched ads on YouTube in 2011 are two Super Bowl ads.

Most watched video ads of the year (eliminating music videos and trailers):
1. VW - The Force
2. T-Mobile - Royal Wedding
3. Chrysler - Imported From Detroit
4. DC Shoes - Ken Block's Gymkhana Four: The Hollywood Megamercial
5. smartwater - Jennifer Aniston goes viral
6. Team Hot Wheels - The Yellow Driver's World Record Jump
7. Old Spice - Scent Vacation
8. Apple - Introducing Siri on iPhone 4S
9. Samsung - Unleash Your Fingers
10. adidas - D Rose: adiZero Rose 2 The Bull

What is surprising is that the majority of YouTube’s top “ads” of 2011 (seems strange to call them that) never appeared on traditional TV at all.

Videos like T-Mobile’s Royal Wedding, itself a spoof of the JK Wedding Dance, were made for the web and made to amuse, entertain, and to be passed around, as are mini-movies like DC Shoe’s Gymkhana Four, stunts like Hot Wheel’s record jump, and Old Spice’s “Scent Vacation.”

Even the two Super Bowl ads making the list, Chrysler and Volkswagen, were part of elaborate campaigns made to live significant lives on the web. In the past, advertisers treated their Super Bowl spots like state secrets, but Volkswagen posted “The Force” on YouTube two weeks before the Super Bowl last year, and had 10 million views before the game began. Chrysler took the opposite approach, but created a video four times the length of a typical TV ad, perfect for extended watching on the web after the game.

For brands, creating great content—advertainment, if you will—isn’t just for big TV events like the Super Bowl anymore. Increasingly, advertisers and their agencies are focusing on the content and the strategy, and letting that content distribute itself. That doesn’t mean they aren’t doing traditional advertising. Indeed all of these campaigns were backed up by significant spending to seed and promote these videos on YouTube and elsewhere. But paid media only gets you so far. In the end, it doesn’t matter if they paid $3 million for 30-seconds in the Super Bowl or much less to get the conversation started. In the end, it’s the content that counts.

Michael Learmonth, Senior Editor for Advertising Age, recently watched, “Sesame Street: Smell Like a Monster.”

We have two early presents for you this week—a playlist of seasonal songs, and a retrospective from Daptone Records first fantastic 10 years. Plus don’t miss Common performing from our New York office as part of YouTube Presents.

Songs for the Season
We celebrate the holidays by showing off the best performers in the world: you. These are your videos, your songs, your unique (and sometimes hilarious) takes on how to make this season bright. We’ve got four-part harmony how-to videos, acoustic greatness, joyful animation and even a dubstep take on “Carol of the Bells.” Thanks for all you do.

Daptone Records 10 Year Anniversary
In the ten years since Daptone Records opened its creaking doors, retromania has gone from a marginal concept to one that has a book named after it. Daptone was founded on love: love for the warm, organic sound of analog recording equipment and love for the funk and soul music that America produced in the 1960s. From those twin passions emerged a label devoted to classic sounds that somehow do not seem anachronistic in our digital age -- on the contrary, they’re warmly welcomed. Artists like Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley and the Budos Band have become critical darlings and festival favorites. But the label perhaps had its biggest impact on the culture when it loaned its house band, the Dap-Kings, to Amy Winehouse for one fateful album.

Sarah Bardeen, Music Community Manager, recently watched “XMAS SWAGGER by Princess Superstar.”

One hundred years into the future, when our great-grandkids look back to what was capturing the world’s imagination on YouTube in 2011, what will they make of us? Will they still be delighted by babbling babies? Will they still be “so excited” about the weekend?  And will they be any closer to understanding the mystery of the space-traveling toaster pastry cat?

Check out for a timeline of this year's most popular videos and events and to see what the world watched in 2011.

Today, we rewind through the videos and channels that absorbed our collective global attention this year. To compile these lists, we looked at global view counts of popular videos uploaded throughout this year, and, in some instances, we aggregated views across multiple versions of the same video. 2011 was a year of amazing new channels and new stars being discovered, awesome creativity, and of course, Rebecca Black. It was also a year of powerful news stories playing out on YouTube, as people witnessed and documented uprisings and natural disasters, touching personal moments and moments of protest.

In total, there were more than 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) playbacks on YouTube this year (yep, count ‘em, 12 zeroes). That’s about 140 views for every person on the earth. More than twice as many stars as in the Milky Way. And if I had a penny for every … OK, you get my drift, it’s a big number.

So to all of you who picked up a guitar and sang a love song, held your camera phone high above a protesting crowd, danced along to “Friday” or just forgot the webcam was on, thank you. You make YouTube what it is, and we can’t wait to hear your stories next year.

Without further ado, your most-viewed videos of 2011.

Most viewed YouTube videos globally (excluding videos from major music labels)

  1. Rebecca Black - Friday (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
  2. Ultimate Dog Tease
  3. Jack Sparrow (feat. Michael Bolton)
  4. Talking Twin Babies - PART 2 - OFFICIAL VIDEO
  5. Nyan Cat [original]
  6. Look At Me Now - Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes (Cover by @KarminMusic)
  7. The Creep (feat. Nicki Minaj & John Waters)
  8. Maria Aragon - Born This Way (Cover) by Lady Gaga
  9. The Force: Volkswagen Commercial
  10. Cat mom hugs baby kitten
Most viewed YouTube channels globally (excluding channels from major music labels)
  1. machinima
  2. IGNentertainment
  3. RayWilliamJohnson
  4. expertvillage
  5. BlueXephos
  6. smosh
  7. realannoyingorange
  8. roosterteeth
  9. thelonelyisland
  10. barelypolitical
Most watched videos from major music labels globally 
  1. Jennifer Lopez - On The Floor ft. Pitbull
  2. LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock
  3. Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song [Official Video]
  4. Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
  5. Pitbull - Give Me Everything ft. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer
  6. Pitbull - Rain Over Me ft. Marc Anthony
  7. Jessie J - Price Tag ft. B.o.B.
  8. LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
  9. Katy Perry - E.T. ft. Kanye West
  10. Katy Perry - Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
Some highlights from other categories:
You can also check out the most-viewed videos of the year in fashion, beauty, sports, gaming, travel, fitness, food, science, tech reviews, family, pets, and wedding proposals.

Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, recently watched “Miracle on 42nd Street.

Whoever first said it’s better to give than to receive wasn’t on a budget. For those of you looking to give generously this holiday season without shaking every last cent out of that snowglobe penny bank you were stuck with at last year’s white elephant exchange, we have good news: lots of creators on YouTube are sharing DIY gifts and money saving ideas.

While socks are very useful, after several years of giving them as gifts you might want to try something new. Consider making coasters, a tablet case made from an old plaid shirt, a crochet beanie, or even some homemade BBQ sauce you can bottle up and just add a bow.

Looking for something a bit more decorative? From a ‘no sew’ clutch, to vintage teacup candles, or homemade earrings with a DIY earring holder, there are plenty of gifts you can give that require little to no crafting skills.

If you’re convinced your grumpy uncle is the Grinch in disguise, help him get into the holiday spirit by tantalizing his senses with a holiday favorite: peppermint. Try a delicious peppermint bark recipe, relaxing peppermint bath salts or even peppermint lip products.

Finally, try adding a little cheer to a gift you already have. Make a DIY wine bottle sock bag (also great for apple cider), add a homemade potholder or oven mitt to a basket of your favorite holiday cookies, or even give cash on a cool DIY money tree.

Happy Holidays!

Jessica Mason, Communications Associate, recently watched “Damon Claus for a Cause -”

On a typical Friday afternoon at YouTube, you can expect to see most people scrambling to finish their work or getting ready for Google’s weekly TGIF meeting. This past Friday, something different occurred: the first-ever YouTube Holiday Giving Flash Mob. Flash mobs? Aren’t those mainly for hipsters dancing in shopping malls and subway stations? Yes, many are, but we thought it would be cool to channel the crowd-sourced energy of your standard flash mob and put it towards a good cause. 

Hundreds of YouTubers across various offices came together to give back to, an organization doing wonderful work for kids across the US. One great thing about DonorsChoose is that they’re crowd-sourced giving -- public school teachers from across America post classroom project requests on the site. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class. You can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, they deliver the materials to the school. 


In total, our YouTube Flash Mob raised thousands of dollars across several different projects. Thanks to Google’s Corporate Giving Match program and DonorsChoose offering to match the first $100 of each YouTube employee’s donation, we should eventually be able to double our initial total donation. 

But it doesn’t stop there - we want to invite you to be part of our Flash Mob. DonorsChoose has generously agreed to also match all donations through Dec 31, 2011. All you need to do is enter the word “YOUTUBE” in the “I have a gift or match code” field during checkout on the site and DonorsChoose will match up to $100 of your gift*. So find a project and give what you can. While DonorsChoose is a U.S. based organization, we don’t want to limit the giving to within our borders. You can tell us what other organizations and charities hold a special place in your heart by leaving a comment on the YouTube Google+ page. In January we’ll report back on the total donation amount and other global charities you’ve brought to our attention! 

Happy Giving! 

Hunter Walk, Product Manager, who recently watched “ The Colbert Report’s Charity of Choice” 

*DonorsChoose has agreed to match $100 of all gifts using the promotional code ‘YouTube’ up to a certain point. 

*Gift matching does not apply when one individual fully funds a project in its entirety, so feel free to spread the love across multiple projects to take advantage of the matching funds.

Today’s guest post comes from Hank and John Green, aka the VlogBrothers, with a reminder about how you can dramatically increase the level of awesome that exists around the world this year.

Last week, we asked you to participate in this year’s Project for Awesome. Today, December 17th at 12PM ET, is when all the awesomeness begins.

We’d love for you to join Project for Awesome by doing one of the following:
  • Upload a video for your favorite charity and tag it with “p4a.”
  • Share your and your friends’ videos on YouTube, your favorite social networks, and everywhere else. Also like, ‘favorite’ and comment on the videos and be sure to use #P4A.
  • Donate to your favorite charities and causes.

Thanks again for being awesome!

Posted by Hank and John Green, the VlogBrothers, recently watched, "Josh Sundquist - P4A: Pimp My Disabled Ski Team Van [NSCD]."

Each year here at YouTube, we take a look back at the videos that captured our attention and our imagination during the year. We’ll be releasing the most viewed videos of 2011 next week, but today it’s the turn of our friends over at Google to take a look at the year in search.

And one of our homegrown YouTube stars - Ms. Rebecca Black - topped the fastest rising search term list in the U.S. and around the whole world! Congratulations Ms. Black … Google is one thing, but come back here next week to see if she also managed to top the list of the most-viewed YouTube videos around the world in 2011.

Meanwhile, you can visit Google’s Zeitgeist site for a sneak peak at some of the year’s biggest searches on YouTube.

Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, recently watched "YouTube Challenge: I gave my kids a terrible present."

The Korean music genre K-Pop had a big global moment in 2011.

The October SM Town Live showcase in New York — featuring SHINEE, Girls’ Generation, and TVXQ — sold out Madison Square Garden. Wonder Girls, who previously opened for the Jonas Brothers’ 2009 North American tour, have seen millions of views from around the world in just a few weeks for their latest single “Be My Baby.” American producers are also moving in on the K-Pop action. Michael Jackson veteran Teddy Riley produced Girls’ Generation’s new track “The Boys.” and has been at work with 2NE1 on new material. And when YouTube livestreamed the Mnet Asian Music Awards at the end of November, more than 90 percent of the views were from outside of Korea.

Since K-Pop has broken so big, we thought it was a good time to give this unique set of artists their own genre on If you select “K-Pop” from the menu, you’ll get the latest K-Pop videos and a list of upcoming concerts near you.

We’ll hopefully be adding more and more Korean music labels and artists in the future, so check back on the K-Pop section of the Music page to see the latest singles from your favorite artists and some songs from people you may not have known.

Sun Lee, YouTube Marketing Manager for Asia-Pacific, who recently watched "2NE1 - Lonely + I Am The Best [MAMA 2011 in Singapore]"

Interested in watching the latest game reviews? Can’t get past that final level? If you are a gamer like me, there is a video for you on YouTube. From reviews, to cheats, to walkthroughs, you can now experience YouTube like never before on your Xbox 360.

Through the YouTube application on Xbox 360 we are announcing today, you can explore the most popular trending videos, delve into a category to discover something new, get help with your gaming, or search for any video you want. The YouTube you know and love is now on the big screen in your house. Interested in learning more? Watch some of these great videos from our gaming partners.

Sang Kim, Gaming Partner Development, recently watched “Mahalo Video Games Guide: Youtube for Xbox."

As December wears on, we’re faced with two major issues: finding holiday music we can actually love...and discovering end-of-year lists we can trust. Today’s features on get you started on both counts.

XLR8R’s best videos of 2011
The taste-making electronic music magazine has strong opinions and good taste -- not such a bad combination, right? After wading through innumerable music videos, they share ten which they feel stand out for their beautiful imagery, unique storylines, great animations and/or baffling special effects. Prepare to be baffled.

‘Tis The Season
The season of giving is beginning, and here's what we've got in our sack for you: brand new holiday videos from Zee Avi and Matt Costa, and not one but two entire Christmas albums (f'reals!): one from hipster record label Carpark and one Americana offering featuring the Avett Brothers, among many others. Time to get your holiday on in style.

Little Tybee: Boxcar Fair
It reportedly took six months to craft this lovely little gem of a video. Yes, puppets are creepy -- and put them in a strange country fair, at night, in the middle of a desert, and things get even creepier. Or perhaps it’s just whimsical? This band has consistently pushed the boundaries with their videos, and this one marries the song and video beautifully. Bravo.

Sarah Bardeen, Music Community Manager, recently watched “Rains - by Teebs and Jackhigh.”

When I was in school during the 90s, watching videos in the classroom was a highlight of any week. The teacher would roll in a television on a cart, pop in a VHS tape, and then we’d enjoy whatever scratchy science video my teacher had checked out from the school video library that week. Sight, sound and motion have always had the power to engage students and complement classroom instruction by bringing educational topics to life.

We’ve been hearing from teachers that they want to use the vast array of educational videos on YouTube in their classrooms, but are concerned that students will be distracted by the latest music video or a video of a cute cat, or a video that might not be appropriate for students. While schools that completely restrict access to YouTube may solve this distraction concern, they also limit access to hundreds of thousands of educational videos on YouTube that can help bring photosynthesis to life, or show what life was like in ancient Greece.

To address this issue, we’ve developed YouTube for Schools, a network setting that school administrators can turn on to grant access only to the educational content from YouTube EDU. Teachers can choose from the hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube EDU created by more than 600 partners like the Smithsonian, TED, Steve Spangler Science, and Numberphile.

We know how busy teachers are, and that searching through thousands of videos sounds like a daunting visit to the world’s largest library, so we’ve also worked with teachers to put together more than 300 playlists broken out by subject -- Math, Science, Social Studies, and English Language Arts -- and by grade level. Teachers can find them listed out at Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without your input -- teachers, what videos do you use in your classroom? Suggest your own education playlist here.

YouTube for Schools is just the latest initiative in our ongoing efforts to make YouTube a truly valuable educational resource, and to inspire learners around the world with programs like YouTube Space Lab. So how do you get started? To join YouTube for Schools or learn more about the program, head on over to

UPDATE: For detailed step-by-step instructions on how to sign up please this YouTube Help Center article.

Brian Truong, Product Manager, recently watched “The Challenges of Getting to Mars: Transporting a Mars Rover.”

Each weekday, we at YouTube Trends take a look at the most interesting videos and cultural phenomena on YouTube as they develop. We want take a moment to highlight some of what we've come across this week:
  • We looked at how a recent ad from candidate Rick Perry has stirred up lots of interest and parodies.

  • We saw on-the-scene footage from some wild windstorms in Scotland.

  • We tracked rising searches around tent monsters in "Occupy Australia."

  • We reflected on how children football fans deal with defeat: very very poorly.

  • We collected popular college videos from across the United States.

  • We measured how Justin Bieber's finding a sizeable audience for his holiday videos.

  • And even Mariah Carey herself declared this "the best thing I've ever seen":

Check back every day for the latest about what's trending on YouTube at:

Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, recently watched "Why Men and Women Cant be friends."

With YouTube’s new homepage and Channels layouts it’s easier than ever to find and subscribe to Channels, but what’s the best way to have viewers find you? Here are some tips to help your Channel stand out in the crowd:

Channel metadata and visuals help viewers find and subscribe to your Channel
  • Use the new Channel branding and tell people your posting schedule
  • Create a relevant, short text description of your Channel. This will have prominent placement around YouTube that helps drive new subscriptions.
  • Avatars are important! Avatars are like thumbnails promoting your Channel, and the same tips apply for creating thumbnails and avatars in the YouTube Creator Playbook.
Make your Channel preview on the homepage count
  • Uploading regularly engages your subscribers and also helps attract new ones. In the Channels preview pane, potential subscribers can see how often you upload so they know what to expect. Here’s what the preview pane looks like:

  • The main video in the preview is pulled from featured video on your Channel, so make sure you have a good introductory video that catches the audience.
Once you attract new subscribers, focus on creating the best Channel experience possible
  • Remember that it’s not all about what you upload—use playlists to organize your Channel, and like/favorite videos to surface new content to your subscribers.
  • If you can’t be the Channel that uploads great videos, you can be the Channel that finds great videos!
To learn more about using Channel promotion and other strategies to make your shiny new channel even shinier, check out the YouTube Creator Playbook.

Andres Palmiter, Audience Development Strategist, recently watched the video “SOUNDS.”

You put a lot of work into your videos, so we’re putting a lot of work into making sure they look their best on YouTube. Today we’re rolling out an updated Video Manager with some new features that’ll help you handle all your videos. To try out the new design, go to the Video Manager and click “try it now.”

Highlights of the new Video Manager are:
  • Simplified top and left navigation bars to help you get to the tools you need more quickly
  • Icons to indicate privacy status, if monetization is enabled and scheduled publish status
  • Badges to indicate whether videos are HD, Creative Commons and/or captioned
  • A new look that’s consistent with our fresh coat of digital paint

We also cleaned up our suite of editing tools and improved the navigation used to get between these tools:

To learn more, watch this video walkthrough or check out our Help Center.

Have feedback? On the left side of the page click the “send feedback” button, where we’ll be reviewing all of your comments on the design. We’re planning on fully releasing this interface early next year, so submit your ideas before then. You can also share your thoughts in our forum.

Dan Auclair, Web Developer, recently watched “Halloween Light Show 2011 - Party Rock Anthem.”

From Justin Bieber to The Gregory Brothers, YouTube is a platform for anyone with a passion for performing to showcase their musical talents and get noticed across the web. Smart copyright management is an important part of this online video service—it helps songwriters and performers to be appropriately compensated for their works, while also allowing for those works to be used in new ways.

YouTube has had a longstanding commitment to solving the really tough challenges around online copyright—how to manage content rights in a quickly evolving technology world. We’ve already invested tens of millions of dollars in content management technology such as Content ID and, with over 3,000 major media companies using it, we’ve come a long way in just a few years. But we want to keep pushing things forward.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve acquired RightsFlow, a New York-based company that helps songwriters, recording artists, record labels, distributors and online music services manage music rights. As new ways of consuming music have emerged, RightsFlow has been at the forefront of solving the complex issues of licensing and royalty payment management. We couldn’t think of a better team to bring on board to further YouTube’s support of the creative community.

By combining RightsFlow’s expertise and technology with YouTube’s platform, we hope to more rapidly and efficiently license music on YouTube, meaning more music for you all to enjoy, and more money for the talented people producing the music. From music videos to live-streamed concerts, YouTube has become a launch-pad for both aspiring musicians and more established independent artists—which is why we have and will continue to invest in tools that make it easier for copyright owners to manage their content online.

David King, Product Manager, recently watched "Danny Macaskill - Industrial Revolutions.”

With the holidays upon us, many of you are busy decorating your homes to get into the spirit of the season. What better time to bring this decorative mood to your home on YouTube — your Channel — and help your audience to get more into your videos?

As part of the announcement last week of our new look, we unveiled Channel layouts to help you better showcase your videos. Since this announcement, we’ve been encouraged by data showing logged in usage and subscriptions on the rise. So, we’re moving forward to bring the new YouTube to more of you. Starting this week, all newly created and existing basic Channels will be transitioned to the new design. YouTube Partners can opt into the new design at any point, but their Channels will not be automatically transitioned at this point. When you visit “My Channel” on YouTube, you’ll see your Channel in the new design, and the “Edit Channel” button that’s your gateway to exploring the various layouts. Here are some pointers to help you get started:

1. Fill your feed with great videos: Are you sharing your likes, favorites and subscriptions? Publishing these activities to your feed will keep your Channel fresh with new entertaining videos, even when you’re not uploading videos.

2. Feature your very best content: Have videos or playlists you want to showcase? Add the featured tab to your Channel and choose a template that works best for you. You can do this in just a few clicks -- get started by clicking “Edit Channel.”

3. Write a unique description: Create a description that tells your visitors what to expect from your Channel. Click the “Edit” button in the top right corner of your Channel. You can also add links to Facebook, Twitter and other websites.

4. Share the love: Our viewers look to you for great videos on YouTube. Give the gift of your suggestions by adding the "Other Channels" feature, and encourage other Channel owners to do the same.

Many YouTube Channels have already made the switch, and we’re hoping you’ll join them. You’ll receive the new Channels design over the next few days. Play with the templates and design options to make your channel the most inviting home for your audience. Remember, you can always switch back to the old design by clicking the “Switch back” button in the Appearance tab should you need more time to get your Channel ready for primetime.

Looking for even more inspiration? Visit a gallery of examples, or watch a few YouTube creators tour their new Channels.

We can’t wait to see what you do with your place!

The YouTube team

Today’s guest post comes from Hank and John Green, aka the VlogBrothers, with a special message about how you can dramatically increase the level of awesome that exists around the world this year.

In 2007, we asked everyone on YouTube to upload videos for their favorite causes and charities on December 17. We wanted to help raise awareness and donations for awesome causes that we all care about—big and small, from near and far. This YouTube community-driven movement became known as Project for Awesome.

This year is now the 5th anniversary of Project for Awesome, and we want you to help make it more awesome than ever. Here’s how:

Make an innovative video promoting your favorite charity and upload it on December 17 starting at Noon ET. Make it original, and most importantly, make it awesome. Use this thumbnail as your thumbnail for the video, and tag it with "p4a2011” (here’s info about using thumbnails). It’s our hope that if we all upload on the same day, all of YouTube and the Internet will be taken over by a flurry of awesomeness.

Awesome waits for no one, so here are some ideas to get started:
  • Organize a campaign with your community and film it. This can be anything from a bake sale to rebuilding a village. There are many non-profits that allow you to build teams such as Charity:Water, Kiva, and
  • Check out some of our favorite Project for Awesome videos below.
  • Take one of your existing videos and spend some time using the YouTube Video Editor to make it even better.
On December 17, we hope all of you around the Internet and around the world upload videos for your favorite causes. Then, share your favorites and donate to the causes you think are awesome. Here are some past videos to get you started:

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to be awesome.

Hank and John Green of the VlogBrothers recently watched “Pas De Deux - Sean Malone (Remix).”