Adele’s ‘Hello’ Breaks Records as a Test Case For YouTube’s Musical Power

By Evan DeSimone

“Hello,” the latest release from British chanteuse Adele, is an aptly titled break-up anthem designed to welcome fans back into the singer’s sometimes melancholic world ahead of the Nov. 20 release of her album “25.” The video for the song isn’t even one week old and it’s already a record buster on YouTube and Vevo.

“Hello” hit YouTube on Friday, Oct. 23, and rapidly gained traction, racking up 50 million views within its first 48 hours, making it the biggest music video debut of the year. At just over 1 million views per hour, “Hello” is within spitting distance of one of the year’s fastest growing videos overall, the trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”At press time, the video has been viewed more than 92.5 million times, giving it one of the largest music video launch weeks of all time.

The success of “Hello” flies in the face of received YouTuber wisdom, holding that regular content is the only way to ensure growth. While many mainstream stars have taken this advice to heart, engaging fans with a constant stream of bonus content, Adele’s YouTube channel has been entirely fallow for just over 3 years. The British chanteuse and her team haven’t uploaded a single video since 2012’s “Skyfall” lyric video, which made its debut on Oct. 18th of that year. While the rapid success of “Hello” certainly speaks to a well-orchestrated publicity campaign, it also serves as evidence of YouTube’s rapidly improving ability to accelerate content to massive audiences.

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The video also made waves for Vevo. The music-focused video platform handled the release of “Hello” as part of its partnership with Sony Music Group, the parent of Adele’s home label, Columbia Records. The video topped 27.7 million views in its first 24 hours giving it the largest Vevo debut to-date, topping the previous record holder, Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood,” by 7.6 million views.

The rapid rise of “Hello” is further proof of YouTube’s potentially seismic influence on the music industry. The company has struggled to articulate its vision for this dominance, as evidenced by the long-delayed launch of its proposed Spotify competitor Music Key. While that product has since been rolled into the release of SVOD product YouTube Red, it’s clear that YouTube will continue to swing a sizable bat with record labels.

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