When we look back at the past year or so in quarantine, it’s hard to focus on the positives. However, amid the anxiety and stress, we all took refuge in some form of content. Whether it’s that TV show you’ve wanted to binge for years, wasting the day on TikTok or getting back into reading, these things helped to provide each of us with at least a little bit of comfort every day. Below, I’ll focus on three different forms of media where artists and content creators produced content that shot them to fame in a time when the future seemed unclear.
While we were stuck at home, many of us had concerts we were looking forward to. Maybe you bought Harry Styles tickets only to see him cancel or reschedule your show. Either way, artists had to put their careers on pause, canceling shows and interviews to follow CDC guidelines. It wasn’t all bad, though. Artists, like rising sensation Olivia Rodrigo, used the time to write, and posting snippets of songs on Instagram, she built up enough hype to make her first single on par with records set by Taylor Swift. Her debut album comes out on May 21st, and it’s sure to be a hit.
Another way that artists were able to stay connected to their fans was through TikTok. One example of this success is the band Mother Mother. Songs like “Hayloft” and “Verbatim” were popular TikTok audios several months ago, leading younger people, including myself, to find their music and a new favorite band in the process. They’ve been making music and putting out consistently great albums since the early-2000s, and their recent success online has already led to re-pressings of their older albums on vinyl and a brand new album due out in June. Not only can the platform amplify new artists, but it can also help older acts cater to younger audiences.
Something that’s taken the Internet by storm over the past year is Twitch, a live streaming platform that allows anyone with an account to stream themselves playing games, making art or just chatting. In a world where everyone is stuck in their rooms, streaming allows both an easy way for young people to make money and a source of entertainment for everyone watching.
After the popularity of the online game and mobile app Among Us, a group of streamers including Valkyrae, Pokimane and Sykkuno emerged. Their witty commentary and enjoyable gameplay led them to rack in tens to hundreds of thousands of views on their individual livestreams on either Twitch or YouTube. They’re still streaming Among Us gameplays, but most of them have earned more opportunities thanks to their audience retention and personalities. For example, Corpse recently collaborated with Machine Gun Kelly on a new song, and Valkyrae was just announced as a co-owner of the gaming organization 100 Thieves. Content creation is at an all time high, and there are only more success stories to come.
I know, I know. But if you haven’t been living under a rock for a year, you’ve noticed the rise in popularity that this game has received once again. It feels like once every few years, Minecraft resurfaces, usually with fresh faces that appeal to a brand new generation. This time around, those faces are Dream, TommyInnit and Ranboo. With a combined YouTube subscriber count of around 32 million, these three content creators are popular across YouTube and Twitch. Most notably, Ranboo held the record for most subscribers on Twitch for a short period of time and reaches 100,000 subs every other week.
The three of them make vastly different YouTube content with Dream’s Minecraft Manhunt series, Tommy’s modded Minecraft comedy videos and Ranboo’s IRL content, but they all have one thing in common: the Dream SMP. Last August, Dream started a Minecraft survival world with his two best friends, also YouTubers and streamers, GeorgeNotFound and Sapnap. Overtime, the server would grow from three members to 31, gathering a large group of content creators into one area who somehow all seem to get along. The popularity of this one server launched multiple careers in the realm of young streamers, and it’s still expanding.
This time in quarantine hasn’t been easy – we all know that. Even so, it’s good to look at the things that have kept us afloat, whether it be a new Taylor Swift album or the revival of our Minecraft phase from middle school. No matter what it was you held onto, it’ll be something we can talk about years from now.