YouTube Rewind 2020 is cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, YouTube issued a statement acknowledging that it must approach Rewind 2020 differently. The company says it doesn’t feel right to carry on as if everything is the same. This year is the first time YouTube Rewind won’t happen since YouTube began the series in 2010.
Rewind has become something of a meme to the content creator community. YouTube Rewind 2018 became the most disliked video of all time that year. But every year creators look forward to seeing how YouTube will bring the cringe. This year it’s not happening due to COVID-19.
“We know that so much of the good that did happen in 2020 was created by all of you,” YouTube’s statement begins. “You’ve found ways to lift people up, help them cope, and make them laugh. You made a hard year genuinely better.” YouTube viewership surged during the pandemic, as most of the world went into lockdown.
It even created a new style of video in which content creators performed mundane activities for views. (Walk with me, do laundry with me, study with me content surged.) Live-streaming also saw a big boost, not only on YouTube but on rival platform Twitch as well.
Twitch even went so far as to partner with SoundCloud to help musicians fast-track their way to partner status. But the influx of artists and attention the music community brought to Twitch also saw a crackdown. The RIAA is currently battling the platform, whose latest directive to its creators is, “don’t play recorded music at all.”
So, will YouTube Rewind return in 2021 after 2020 is bust?
Right now, it’s unclear. YouTube didn’t say whether or not it will return. That’s probably highly dependent on the arrival of a coronavirus vaccine for a return to social norms. Many concert-goers and music fans said they wouldn’t be attending live concerts without a vaccine.
Perhaps instead of filming a cringe-inducing YouTube Rewind 2020 video, the platform can focus on YouTube Music. Google Play Music shut down last month, and YouTube Music is still not a viable replacement. The music export tool jumbles playlists and completely loses tracks.
Beyond that, many of the albums available on GPM don’t appear on YouTube Music. For now, ex-GPM users would do better exploring one of the many YouTube Music alternatives. When comparing YouTube Music to Spotify, Apple Music, or even Deezer – the experience just sucks. But hey, at least they fixed it so that free users can stream to their Chromecast devices again.