Dan Barry & Bryan Murphy / July 10, 2023
Let's face it, the best guitar content is on YouTube and it's free, thanks to the amazing creator community and their tireless work. Here at GuitarApp, our mission is to organise and categorise all that great content to provide a customised learning and browsing experience for guitar players. In doing so, we process and analyse a lot of YouTube data related to the world of guitar and the data is fascinating! In this article, we'll reveal some of the most interesting findings which have been collected up to February 2023.
Our data has been collected from over 300 guitar channels which are featured in GuitarApp. Collectively, these channels have had over 18 billion views on YouTube. Let's dig in to the data!
*Important: We do not include data from guitar brand channels as the promotional nature of their content would skew the data.
For anybody who has spent any time on (guitar) YouTube, the top 10 channels will be familiar but there may be a few surprises for the uninitiated. Topping the list is Jared Dines, not a guitar instructor, but an entertainer with a whopping 750m views in less than 500 videos. His success shines a light on just how powerful a niche metal is in the guitar-sphere.
Following close behind is the hugely popular guitar instructor Marty Shwartz with an impressive 673m views. To put this number in perspective, The Beatles only have one song on Spotify with more streams, Here Comes The Sun, with just over 1 billion streams!
Marty's closest competitor, Justin Guitar can be found teaching songs at number 9 with 325m views, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Justin teaches guitar technique on a separate channel, which has an additional an additional 225m views. Combined, these numbers would catapult Justin to position 4. YouTube heavyweights Rick Beato and Paul Davids make the list with their down to earth take on music education and appreciation. Again the numbers are staggering with view counts eclipsing many world-famous artists' streaming numbers.
What's particularly intriguing is the composition of the top 10 channels. Only three of them are dedicated "guitar lesson" channels. 7 of the top 10 channels are directed at more established guitar players in search of gear, theory insights, music history or just some lighthearted entertainment. Interestingly, only one media/retail company, Guitar Center, appears in the top 10, albeit with a considerable amount of non-guitar related content. While not highlighted here, there are six media/retail companies occupying the 11 - 20 slots on this list.
Guitar on YouTube appears to be experiencing robust growth, with a 24% increase in total views among the top 10 channels in the past year. Impressively, these 10 channels account for 28% of the total views across all 326 channels. It's worth mentioning that we've excluded guitar brand channels from this data. However, if we had included them, only Fender would secure a spot on both the top views and top subscribers lists.
It makes a great deal of sense that 6 of the top 10 most viewed channels would also boast the largest number of subscribers. Marty Music tops the list this time with 3.7m subscribers with Rick Beato, Steve Terreberry, Paul Davids, Rob Scallon and Jared Dines also occupying spots on both lists. Of particular interest on this list (for different reasons) is Adam Neely and Andrew Huang. Neely's focus on complex music theory concepts and their origins broadens his appeal beyond the guitar community, as proven by his 1.6 million subscribers. His success demonstrates how a well-executed niche can reach a vast audience. On the other hand, Andrew Huang's channel provides a fresh perspective on creative music production. While his content is more rooted in the synth community than the guitar community, collaborations with YouTube guitar icon Rob Scallon and the universal appeal of music creation have all contributed to his channel's success within the guitar community. Notice that no media/retail companies appear on the top subscribers list indicating that YouTube is a platform for personalities more so than companies.
Our data shows that media/retail channels post more content than personal channels. In fact, 6 of the top 10 are online retailers, 2 are guitar media companies (Premier Guitar & Guitar World) and 1 is the lessons platform, Truefire, which occupies the top spot in terms of number of videos posted. The fact that media/retailers post more often is not surprising given that they typically have more than one content creator on the team but it is refreshing to see that "the algorithm" does in fact reward independent content creators with high quality content even if they can't release a video every week. We dig into this phenomenon later where we look at the average views per video metric.
We also did some analysis on which guitar brands have the most mindshare on YouTube by analysing the video titles of over 200,000 videos. In this analysis, we did not include videos from the brand itself as it would skew the data. The type of videos contributing to mindshare mainly include demos and reviews from online retailers and independent creator channels. Our analysis makes no distinction between paid product placement and independent review. It's also important to say that sentiment isn't included in this analysis and so some brand mentions in videos may be highly critical. All that said, here are the top 10 brands competing for mindshare on YouTube! It will come as no surprise that heavyweights Fender and Gibson occupy the top spots with almost identical numbers. The battle of the acoustic giants sees Martin ahead in position 6 and Taylor in position 9. Surprisingly, Boss is the only effects pedal maker on the list in at position 4 although it should be noted that Ibanez, Fender and Marshall all have popular effects pedal ranges too. PRS and Ibanez proudly claim spots in the top 5 with PRS slightly ahead in position 3. The battle of the amps shows Marshall slightly ahead of Orange but in fact, Fender is the real winner here since their amp mentions alone would put them on par with Marshall. The Boss Katana amps also deserve an honourable mention here too since they accounted for nearly 25% of all Boss mentions in videos. Arguably the brands in positions 11 to 20 are even more interesting but we'll save that for another article. Contact us if you'd like more information.
The average views per video is arguably the most fascinating metric to consider when examining YouTube channels. These channels might not boast the highest subscriber count, but their content is remarkably engaging. Many of these channels have found incredible success in very small niches, even by guitar's standards. It is also worth noting that all of these channels have fewer than the average number of videos across all channels. Two notable examples are the Burls Art and tchicks guitar channels, both of which offer a behind-the-scenes look at the process of crafting guitars. Guitar humour also seems to have a universal appeal on YouTube. Kmac2021 is known for his metal guitar memes, while Andre Antunes creatively adds guitar parts to viral videos. The style of Steve Terreberry echoes the quirky charm of early Pewdiepie. The success of these channels isn't ephemeral though; it's enduring. Kmac2021 has an impressive 51 videos with over a million views each, Andre Antunes has 32, and Burls Art has 19, including a top video with a staggering 32 million views. The popularity of these channels shows the power in finding novel ways to present a niche subject to a larger audience. That isn't the full story of this metric though. It also shows that, contrary to popular belief, the YouTube algorithm doesn't necessarily reward quantity in terms of uploads. Scott Paul Johnson's channel, renowned for its comprehensive CAGED system explainer videos and innovative fretboard displays, serves as a compelling case study for prioritizing quality over quantity. For prolific creators like Paul Davids, Jared Dines, Rob Scallon and Steve Terreberry, this metric is a testament to consistent high-quality content delivered over many years. Their enduring popularity affirms the value of cultivating a dedicated audience through the creation of engaging, quality content.
So there you have it! We have so much more data on the world of guitar on YouTube but it would be impossible to include it all in one article so look out for future articles. In the meantime, contact us if you'd like to talk data!