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October 11, 2014

Keepers of the ‘Tube

Text by Nittal Chandarana. Illustration by Wyanet Vaz

‘Vlog like there’s no tomorrow! Don’t miss the Verve round-up of YouTubers to watch

 

Isn’t it everybody’s dream? Collaborate with that whacky best friend, set up a working video camera and have a random conversation about nothing in particular. And get paid for it. It might seem like becoming a YouTube personality is one of the easiest things to achieve. We’ve seen plenty of wannabe movie reviewers, How-To videos, comic capers and musical medleys. Did you know some achieve stardom greater than actual celebs? Videos go viral, are shared across social media apps, and suddenly, everyone wants to know why it’s the new biggest thing. It’s a win-win game. YouTubers make their channel, regularly update videos and get a share in the revenue ads make from being screened before the video. Say a video has a million views. The ad is viewed a million times. So much better than television exposure where you can switch channels. Most viewers grumble but sit through that 30-second ad. Now imagine that these guys get paid per click. It’s so sorted, it’s a Karan Johar movie. Here’s a list of our top five YouTubers within their categories:

1. Shahs of Blah Take Superwoman aka Lily Singh (read our interview with Lily here), for instance. An Indo-Canadian, she has adopted this name for herself and is one of YouTube’s most successful contributors. She is funny, quirky and will manage to make you ROFL with her idiosyncrasies. Favourite videos include Draw My Life and Shopping with Parents. Why we love her so much: She showed up as prom date for one of her followers because he’d asked. Just like that. Another Youtuber who speaks nineteen to the dozen: Charlie of Charlieissocoollike.

 

2. Now that’s a musical We are obviously fans of a capella groups Pentatonix and Penn Masala. Pentatonix have made several records of their amazing music after YouTube changed their life and everyone wanted a piece of them. They are also part of the cast of musical movie Pitch Perfect 2. Penn Masala are a group of Indian students, who while studying at the University of Pennsylvania decided to indulge in some a capella and discovered that they rocked at it. They were invited to perform at the IIFA this year, and have also performed for Tendulkar, Anil Ambani and A.R. Rahman, to name a few. Check out their videos Evolution of Bollywood and the Mad World/Tum Hi Ho mashup. When it comes to music, it would be a shame to leave out The Piano Guys. Just look up their covers of Paradise and Let it Go and don’t you dare suggest that you didn’t get goosebumps.

 

3. Comic Capers Bollywood movies have their own line of cool. And then there are Bollywood movie reviews. Kanan Gill and partner-in-crime Biswa of Prententious Movie Reviews fame have been doing a fabulous job. It also helps that Gill has that smile and his friend is hilarious. They have taken a few Bollywood gems and torn them apart in highly entertaining fashion. Yes, Jaani Dushman had a full-length commercial in the midst of its impeccable narrative. And Prem Aggan was not at all suggestive or archaic. The Viral Fever is another Indian channel we follow. From its very popular offering, Chai Sutta Chronicles, to questioning the general knowledge of the Indian youth to picking on Bollywood, these guys do everything. They have tried selling Navjot Singh Sidhu in one of their videos and studied the composition of a Salman Bhai film in another. One more to follow: All India Bakchod. Of course you’ve seen their new Alia Bhatt mockumentary?

 

4. Geek Streak No YouTube list would be complete without the Vlogbrothers. John Green (of TFIOS fame) and his brother Hank are self-proclaimed nerdfighters who believe in making the world a more intelligent place. They do so by uploading videos on everything under the sun and imparting so much information in each 4-minute video, it leaves your head reeling by their sheer genius and also in splits. They are, of course, witty nerds. Also to follow: VSauce.

 

5. We want more! Foodies can check out Sorted Food and Tastemade. We watched one How to…Brownie video and got really hungry only to find no chocolate in the house and we swore, no more. Even more awesomeness: Epic Rap Battles. We all know about this one but it had to be noted down. Peter Shukoff and Lloyd Ahiquist rap their way through history pitting characters like Sherlock and Batman, Einstein and Hawking, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates against each other. Highly factual and entertaining.

There is an ever-increasing community of YouTubers gaining popularity and garnering a loyal group of followers along the way. Some choose to donate their proceeds to charity, like Jacksgap, a travel channel started by Jack in his gap year from school or Emma Blackery, who shaved her head for charity. This is all good and positive. However, there have also been cases of YouTubers using their popularity to indulge in sexual abuse. Reports of musicians signed by the Vlogbrothers for their record label indulging in teen sexual abuse have been doing the rounds. The musicians’ contracts have been terminated and records withdrawn but this just goes to show that fame, in whatever form, can be misused. Mission Imparting Message: Done. We leave you to your laptops for an afternoon of happy ‘tubing.

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