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12 months of YouTube, as told by the YouTube blog

A look back at 2022 on YouTube, as told by some of the biggest stories of the year on the YouTube Official Blog.

The last week of the year is always a great time for reflection. From looking back at our vision for this year back in January to thinking ahead on what’s to come in 2023, here’s a look at the story of YouTube in 2022 as told by the YouTube Official Blog.

January: Susan’s Letter for our 2022 priorities

We knew we wanted to start the year with intentions, and as outlined by Susan Wojcicki in her letter at the beginning of this year, 2022 was going to be about growing the creator economy by diversifying ways creators can earn revenue. We also wanted to focus on improving the creator experience, from better music selections to enhancing the Shorts experience. On the flip side, we wanted to focus on viewers by investing in areas that would make them enjoy their time on YouTube more — from shopping to learning to supporting their favorite creators.

And of course, our investments in protecting the YouTube community continues, with a focus on keeping harmful content off our platform, improving content quality for kids and expanding efforts to make YouTube a diverse and inclusive space.

February: Neal’s innovation series

Shortly following Susan’s letter, Neal Mohan also gave us a look at what we’re focusing on in the innovation side. We kicked off the year with so many opportunities coming to Shorts, thanks to the growing numbers of multi-format creators who’ve embraced both short and long-form content. And we still wanted to increase ways for creators to earn revenue directly from fans — whether that’s by expanding Super Thanks to all eligible creators in the YouTube Partner Program or adding more shopping partners to make the YouTube viewing experience more immersive.

We even followed up with more innovation series blogs to give you a peek at how the things you love on YouTube get made, from the aforementioned Super Thanks to how we brought Shorts to the living room to a new sound you now hear when you launch the YouTube app.

What were some of your favorites?

March: Learning to preserve and conserve through YouTube

Of course, YouTube is not just about the things that happen on the product level, but about ways we can make an impact in the world with the powers and passions of creators across the globe. March gave us an opportunity to do just that by celebrating the 50th year anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Namely, we sat down with Sam Barratt, Chief of the Environmental Education Youth Unit in UNEP’s Ecosystems Division, and Mark Vins, founder of Brave Wilderness, on how viewers can learn more about conservation right here on YouTube.

More than ever, folks at home can learn about how they can take an active part in protecting wildlife and our climate through YouTube educational videos, in ways that feel authentic and relatable.

April: Bridget Dolan gives us a first person perspective for YouTube at Coachella

April would bring a first for YouTube: a live shopping experience timed to Coachella performances, where fans can snag exclusive merch only on YouTube.

Of course, it takes a village to pull this off, and our Managing Director of YouTube shopping Bridget Dolan gave us a look at how you can expertly juggle work and play in our Work Diaries series that recount a week in a life of a YouTube employee.

May: Phil Wang x ur mom Ashley talk about the Asian American experience across generations

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we paired up two YouTube creators from different eras — Phil Wong of Wong Fu Productions and rising creator ur mom Ashley — to discuss what it’s like to be an Asian American creator.

Their insights were fascinating: while Phil came up in the early days of YouTube and Ashley more recently, both agree that increasing Asian American visibility in media is done by just being unapologetically themselves. The two also discussed the rise in anti-Asian sentiments, which they combat by talking to their fans directly to build awareness on the subject.

Another highlight is their conversation on mental health within their communities, which for Ashley was more natural to talk about while it took Phil a while to get comfortable with as he grew up with it as a stigma. But ultimately, both agree that we're trending in the right direction.

June: BeautyFest 2022

June brought us our second annual Beauty Festival — its first in-person edition — which hosted a slew of top beauty creators and celebrities from Tracee Ellis Ross to Jennifer Aniston. Naturally, all of it was shoppable through the stream — we even had Brad Mondo stop by to talk about his makeover challenge and lessons from his time as a YouTube creator.

Want even more? YouTube’s own Lauren Celinski gave us her Work Diaries flair on making the live shopping event all happen!

Billion Views Club

YouTube's Billion Views Club logo takeover

July: Celebrating the Billion Views Club

Crossing the billion views count on any single YouTube video is a major milestone, and July gave us the opportunity to recognize these amazing feats with the 10th anniversary of the first video to ever hit one billion views: Psy’s “Gangnam Style”.

Many videos have joined the club since then, and we celebrated this incredible group with a special YouTube logo takeover and a playlist of some of the more iconic videos, from Dua Lipa’s “New Rules to Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito”. There were also a slew of other fun facts: did you know that the fastest video to hit a billion views was Adele’s “Hello”? Wonder when we’ll see another video break this record!

August: PinkVenomChallenge

With the highly anticipated arrival of BLACKPINK’s comeback album, Born Pink, the K-pop queens joined us on YouTube Shorts to announce the catchy Shorts dance challenge to the tune of their first single, “Pink Venom”. We even had BLACKPINK share with us some of their favorites!

September: Made on YouTube

If we can be honest here, September was a massive month for YouTube. Everything that Susan and Neal said at the beginning of the year was leading up to the Made on YouTube event, where we were finally able to unveil our next chapter of creation of our platform — from revenue sharing on YouTube Shorts to enabling creators to find and obtain music licenses from their favorite artists without fear of passing up revenue. We also announced we would lower the threshold for Shorts creators to join our YouTube Partner Program to reward creators from all ranges of formats.

2023 is already looking to be another big year for creators!

October: YouTube app gets a visual refresh

Following our major September announcement, we also brought an update to the YouTube app in an effort to modernize the experience — with new splashes of color, ambient mode, dark theme and more. We even went behind the scenes to show you just how intricate some of our design decisions get made, from how many pixels were most optimal for rounded corners to how we pull colors from YouTube videos in order to make ambient mode look and feel as beautiful as they do today.

YouTube has also paid out $6 billion to the music industry in just a span of 12 months — with 30% of that revenue coming from user-generated content

November: Lyor Cohen announces 80 million subscribers on YouTube Music and Premium

It’s always great to head toward the end of the year knowing that months of work have paid off, and YouTube’s Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen’s announcement was a great recognition of that. In November, YouTube officially crossed the 80 million subscribers on Music and Premium — an increase of 30 million from last year.

This is incredible news for creators, as we’d also just announced that YouTube has paid out $6 billion to the music industry in just a span of 12 months — with 30% of that revenue coming from user-generated content.

December: The top videos and creators of 2022

Naturally, the best way to end the year is to look back at some of its biggest moments and highlights. What better way to do so than to revisit some of the biggest videos of the year? From major moments like the NFL Super Bowl half-time show at the beginning of the year to mesmerizing trick shot Shorts, there were so many videos that viewers just couldn’t get enough of.

And while some may have thoughts on what each year's song of the summer may be, we can decisively say which songs were the soundtrack of 2022 — with top spots going to Bad Bunny’sTití me preguntó,” Kodak Black’s Super Gremlin and of course, Encanto’s We Don't Talk About Bruno. Did you just start humming to it too? Yeah, thought so.

To another year of incredible feats at YouTube! Let’s do it all again in 2023.