YouTube’s top videos of the year prove its only dominant community is brands

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YouTube’s most-viewed video of 2016 shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s an episode of James Corden’s wildly popular Carpool Karaoke featuring a globally beloved pop star whose most recent album broke several sales records. Adele and Corden drawing a lot of attention isn’t unusual, but the rest of the videos in YouTube’s Top 5 are more surprising: there’s the video for the goofy parody song “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen,” a clip of a little kid and an older guy cutting open a rattlesnake’s rattle, a Freaky Friday-like Nike commercial starring Cristiano Ronaldo, and an audition from an episode of America’s Got Talent.

Trying to extrapolate a coherent theme from these videos is challenging — there’s no common thread, outside the platform they all…

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