Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
This installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by Epidemic Sound.
The hottest MC on YouTube is Minecraft. The blocky video game has inspired loads of music videos, and one of the channels offering the best Minecraft music is MC Jams. Led by creator Dwayne Russell, MC Jams offers catchy, singable tunes that appeal to many of the young kids who love the building blocks of the Minecraft world. Thanks in part to Russell’s professional background, MC Jams has gathered a strong audience that numbers more than one million subscribers. Here’s our chat with him:
Tubefilter: How does it feel to have more than one million subscribers on your channel? What do you have to say to your fans?
MC Jams: It feels like…wow! Very exciting. Never thought it would get that big. And of course, I would say to the fans that it’s all theirs. I am their slave! Ha ha ha.
TF: How did you first get excited about the world of Minecraft music?
MCJ: I first got excited when I saw my son listening to Minecraft songs a million times a day. I did not understand it at first. Then I saw all his friends did that too. So I figured since I wrote music for a living I could make those songs easy. I made one and he did the visual. I started a channel and posted the video. I was shocked that despite being on a brand new channel it got thousands of hits! So I made a few more. And it took off from there.
TF: How long does it take to make one of your music videos from start to finish?
MCJ: It averages from three weeks to a month. But sometimes there are unexpected issues so it can take longer. We try to make a new video every three weeks. Now that we are doing new stuff like the Psycho Girl Show it might take longer because my time is being divided up more.
TF: What do you think separates a good Minecraft song from a bad one?
MCJ: That’s a tough question because some songs that I think are bad get tons of views. I always say that music is like ice cream. Some people like chocolate and some like vanilla. Other than that I bring my professional training to my songs. I apply those trained skills you find in hit songs anywhere. I hear other people making Minecraft songs that don’t always apply those skills but still, people like it, so who am I to say it is not good. It’s just ice cream!
TF: Who do you see as your target audience, and how do you ensure your videos are appropriate for them?
MCJ: It looks to me like they range from 5 to 15. They all seem to like to play games of course, especially Minecraft. This is one of the reasons we are making our own games now, to try to give them things they will like and play. And they are all over the world. As far as making it appropriate I use the community section of my channel to take polls a lot. They tell me what they want and I make it!
TF: What do you think about the state of children’s videos on YouTube?
MCJ: Well, I do take the time to search channels once in a while to see what is out there and I see for the most part it is good. To be honest I don’t like if anyone puts adult implied subjects in kids videos. I hate that. My motto is that if it ain’t in a Disney movie then it ain’t on my channel. I’m pretty much in the same camp as Ssundee and Preston. I keep it clean with only a hint of puppy love subject maybe. The new Psycho Girl Show will have puppy love subjects in it.
I’ve put some modern style dance moves in my videos which some kids call it twerking, but to me it is just dancing. People shake their butt when they dance and so my characters do too. It’s all in fun. At one point there were channels putting explicit thumbnails and action in their Minecraft videos. I actually lead the charge to remove them. It is not appropriate for young people. It gives us a bad name and hurts business. If I see them do it again I will try to stop it.
As far as the recent controversies I think YouTube has done the best job they can to clean things up. People criticize YouTube, but since they are so big it is not easy to change things. There is and always will be work to do but the state of children’s videos on YouTube is good right now. I hope it continues to get safer and better.
TF: Why do you think Minecraft has had such a long shelf life on platforms like YouTube?
MCJ: I can’t say for sure but I think it is because of all the YouTubers in the beginning that played the game and made videos like CaptainSparklez and Sky and all those guys. I hate to see some of those guys quit. Minecraft is still going strong in my opinion. I’m thinking there will be a Minecraft World theme park and a Minecraft Movie in theaters one day. Why not? There is a Lego park and movies. As long as channels keep it alive I think it will stay as the staple game for younger audiences.
TF: What’s next for your channel? Any fun plans?
MCJ: Well, as I mentioned earlier we are airing the new Psycho Girl Show on the Psycho Girl channel starting this summer. I would like that to blossom into something on other networks if possible. Would be cool if it became a Netflix series or a YouTube Red series and more people would get to see it. Also, the games we are making excite me. I would like to build the game company. We are releasing our second Android game soon too. I would not mind making bigger games. Maybe even get into multiplayer first person shooter games someday. Since my background is writing music for TV, I would love to write music for my own games. That would be cool!