2018 YouTube Rewind: The Downfall of Original Content Creators

Diego Hernandez
January 9, 2019

Has the sad day come where YouTube is no longer a place for original content creation? That’s what 2018’s YouTube Rewind might suggest. For those unfamiliar, YouTube Rewind is an annual video created by the team at YouTube to sum up the year in memes, viral videos, music, and, most importantly, the content creators behind them.

Every year, big-time YouTube fans (including myself) get excited to see which creators are featured in this video that is certain to have three things:

  1. A larger-than-life production
  2. Surprising cameos
  3. Guaranteed disappointment

Regarding that final point, it’s not uncommon for some of your favorite creators to be left out. Sad face!

Unlike the past few years, however, this year it was actually pretty different. None of the top creators from 2018 were featured. Rather, we were given a diverse range of YouTube-contracted creators that were featured. We saw creators that might not be huge in America, but have large audiences around the world. We even saw pre-YouTube mega-star Will Smith. This is great and shows that YouTube has expanded on a global scale, but where were our favorite content creators that had the largest audiences and most views?

Here are a few that I would have liked to see.


Known for his controversial videos from years before, this content creator is still, to this day, the most subscribed YouTube channel ever. Yes – EVER.

As of late, Pewdiepie has switched his style up, dubbing himself a “family-friendly channel.” Long gone are the videos of him paying for people to say whatever he wants. He now focuses mostly on reacting to other videos and continuing to stream himself playing video games. Pewdiepie uploads regularly on his channel with himself only as the editor of his own content.

Jeffree Star

2018 was a huge year for Jeffree Star.

After being named the most successful beauty content creator, he also saw the launch of two new pallets and expanded his empire to other products. After clearing up controversial moments at the beginning of the year, no one thought Jeffree would be able to catapult to the level he has.

Thanks to the help of another content creator, Shane Dawson (don’t worry – he’s next up), Star was able to shine some light on everything else positive that he does. People were given a glimpse into the beauty community and the crazy life that can only belong to someone like Jeffree Star. Star uploads regularly on his channel with the help of his team.

Shane Dawson

As promised.

As a huge fan, I might be a little biased in saying that Shane is the best content creator on YouTube right now. But the world seems agrees with me. Dawson was awarded Creator of the Year, Documentary of the Year, and Editing at this year’s Streamy Awards (basically the Oscars of the YouTube world) while also winning Social Star of 2018 at the People’s Choice Awards.

Now you’d think that someone with this much recognition for creating content in 2018 on a platform he has been part of for the past 10 years would be a front runner for Youtube Rewind right? Wrong! He didn’t receive a single mention.

After totalling more than 110 million combined views for his, “The Secret World Of Jeffree Star” series, Shane changed the way his fans looked at YouTube. It was no longer just a place to watch daily vlogs, skits, or testing out the craziest things you can buy online, rather a platform on which you can consume long-form videos with an extended narrative – the type of content that could otherwise be found streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime based on production value alone.

Again: you’d think that someone with this large of an impact on a platform, the people in charge of YouTube would use that to their advantage here. But they don’t. And here’s why.

The Bottom Line

So what do all three of these content creators have in common with each other? A lot, actually! Well first, they weren’t in YouTube Rewind, obviously. They all have controversial pasts. And lastly (and most importantly) they’re all independently managed with no contractual obligations to YouTube itself (which the majority of creators featured in Rewind have).

The main reason that they were left out is because those crazy YouTube overlords can’t control them. Sadly, long gone are they days where YouTube applauded their creators for their original content. Instead, YouTube now expects their content creators to create for them, for their benefit. With the introduction of YouTube Premium (previously known as YouTube Red), there was a shift in what YouTube thought was push-worthy content.

With the creation of YouTube Red original shows, movies, and reality shows, YouTube focused on the creators that they could benefit from, rather than the ones us fans really care about. Sadly, it feels like YouTube is becoming more about image and less about community.