Today marks the beginning of Black History Month and, with the recent inauguration of Barack Obama, it is a particularly appropriate time to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans. To contribute to the celebration, we're partnering with Grey Goose to present a month of special programming in the YouTube Screening Room.

We're excited to kick things off with four films that offer unique accounts of moments or themes from African and African-American history. "Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony," a winner of the Audience Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, examines the central role black South African freedom music played in the long battle and triumph over Apartheid. "Electric Purgatory," which screened at 10 international film festivals, reveals the struggles some black rock musicians have faced as they try to build audiences in a sometimes-unfriendly industry. "Hungu," an expertly animated short, recounts a story from the ancient African oral tradition detailing how the merging of life and death gave birth to a beautiful musical instrument: the berimbeau. And "The 13th Amendment," a 2008 award-winning short documentary, follows a 90-year-old great-grandmother as she casts her first-ever vote for an African-American President.

On February 13, we'll continue the commemoration with a fresh program of content, presented by Grey Goose. Stay tuned for the details, but prepare to be inspired!

Happy viewing,

Sara P.

YouTube Film

Over the last few months, thousands of you joined the Davos Debates at, and answered the four big questions the World Economic Forum posed to the YouTube community:

• Economy: Are you confident that global growth will be restored in 2009?

• Ethics: Should company executives have a code of ethics similar to doctors and lawyers?

• Environment: Will the environment lose out to the economy in 2009?

• Politics: Will the Obama Administration improve the state of the world in 2009?

Today on our homepage, we're featuring four mash-ups of your responses to the questions above, in addition to some of the videos submitted by those in attendance at the Forum. You can hear Kofi Annan respond to a young girl in South Africa who asked about development on her continent; poet Pablo Coehlo talk about his view of corporate ethics; or Prime Ministers from South Korea and Turkey speak to their citizens back home.

The mash-ups of your responses to the Davos Debates are being broadcast on a giant screen at the major plenary sessions here in Davos, bringing real-world context to the issues being discussed and debated by participants. In other words, your voice is being heard loud and clear here at the World Economic Forum, so keep submitting your videos and watching the responses on the Davos Debates channel.


Steve Grove

YouTube News & Politics

Today, we are making it easier to add annotations directly to your YouTube videos. Simply login to YouTube, watch your video on the watch page and click on the video to start adding annotations. But don't worry - for those who need more control, you'll still be able to access the separate annotations editor.

We are also making it easier for your annotations to link to a variety of different YouTube pages. You'll be able to link to another video, channel page, playlist, group or search query. What's more, you'll even be able to link to a video response page or message window to prompt for feedback from your audience.

Let us know what you think about this new feature.

Happy annotating!

The YouTube Team

We're happy to announce the launch of a feature many of you have been asking for: you now have the ability to delete comments you've made on videos. We've all been there. Whether you misspelled "pwned", back in the day when you were just a n00b to the internets, or you simply said something you wish you could take back - now you can remove your commentary at any time.

The Abuse & Safety tool is here for you to resolve issues like harassment and bullying. This new feature will empower you to more easily and effectively handle these types of situations, without needing help from staff. Of course, we always encourage everyone to think things through before posting comments anywhere on the site. But if you don't get it right the first time, now you can simply delete your comment. To remove a comment that you've made, go to the "Text Comments" section below the video and click the "Remove" button next to your comment.

Helping you check yourself,

The YouTube Team

You may have already noticed, but this past December we rolled out Hi-Definition-enabled video viewing here on YouTube. Just click the "watch in HD" option below any HD-enabled video, sit back and relax as the joy of YouTube comes to you sharper and more cinematic than ever before. And while you're certainly free to browse our new HD Videos area, we've taken the liberty to spotlight a few HD favorites of our own on today's homepage.

From an epic Internet history lesson, to the serenity of a snow-covered bridge, to a visit from comedy's most beloved fake messiah, we hope there's a little something here for everyone.

Want to learn more about uploading your own masterworks in HD? Just check out this FAQ in the Help Center.

Happy (HD) Viewing!

The YouTube Team

We're happy to announce the launch of a feature many of you have been asking for. Now you have the ability to delete comments you've made on videos. We've all been there. Whether you misspelled "pwned", back in the day when you were just a n00b to the internets, or you simply said something you wish you could take back - now you can remove your commentary at any time.

The Abuse & Safety tool is here for you to resolve issues like harassment and bullying. This new feature will empower you to more easily and effectively handle these types of situations, without needing help from staff. Of course, we always encourage everyone to think things through before posting comments anywhere on the site. But if you don't get it right the first time, now you can simply delete your comment. To remove a comment that you've made, go to the "Text Comments" section below the video and click the "Remove" button next to your comment.

Helping you check yourself,

The YouTube Team

The deadline is fast approaching to submit your audition videos to be a part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. We hope that you have been practicing, as your last chance to upload your two audition videos is 9pm PST on January 28. Need any last minute instruction? There are masterclasses available from members of the London Symphony Orchestra along with tutorials provided by those classical musicians who are also auditioning, like BenChanViolin and NinaFlute.

To get started, follow these simple steps:

1) Visit and click "Prepare."

2) Select your instrument of choice and download the sheet music for "The Internet Symphony."

3) Click the Video #2 tab and pick one of the recommended public domain compositions.

4) Practice, practice, practice.

5) Record two videos of yourself playing each piece. Don't worry about having a professional camera crew -- we prefer something up close that zooms in on your performance and showcases your passion for music. Just make sure that the sound is turned on!

Finalists will be chosen by a judging panel and, next month, will be voted on by the YouTube community. Those selected will to travel to New York City in April 2009 to participate in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra summit, and perform at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Here's the Maestro himself discussing the opportunity this unique collaborative orchestra project offers.

Follow MTT's advice and don't miss the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall along with musicians from around the world. We can't wait to hear you play!

Good luck,

The YouTube Team

Anyone can buy a box of chocolates for their Valentine, but someone who makes something handmade? Now they're a keeper. This Valentine's Day, The Food Network and YouTube want to see all you aspiring pastry chefs shine. Helping us spread the culinary love is "Ace of Cakes" star Duff who is calling all baking Gurus to showcase your most love-inspired treat.

The possibilities are endless here, people. Big cake? Sweet. Cupcake? Nothing wrong there. Cake from a box? Do an impressive job decorating it and we'll still be impressed. The Food Network will scour the entries and feature their favorite video on Food Network's YouTube channel ... and we just might feature it on the YouTube homepage too!

Make a video response by February 10 and show the pros at the Food Network and the sugar addicts at YouTube how to make this Valentine's Day memorable.

Stay Sweet!

Sadia H.

YouTube HowTo & Style

This Sunday marks the end of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, but the celebration will continue on YouTube.

The Sundance Film Festival recently launched a YouTube channel that allows all of you movie enthusiasts to get a glimpse of what took place during the 25th anniversary year of the influential festival.

For those of you interested in the filmmakers behind the films, there's the "Meet the Artists" playlist, featuring interviews with filmmakers from around the world and clips of the films that brought them to Sundance.

If you're looking for coverage on the ground – from premieres to parties and more – you can check out the Live@Sundance segments.

And to hear what some of the film industry's leading thinkers had to say about the state of the business today, check out the HP Presents playlist, featuring full coverage of all the panels that took place at the festival.

So if you didn't get to make it to this year's festival, fear not – we've got you taken care of.


Sara P.

YouTube Film

Today we're delighted to announce that the Vatican has launched a dedicated YouTube channel.

To find out more about why The Pope has taken the decision to interact with YouTube on a regular basis, here is a short introduction from Father Federico Lombardi, S.I., Director of Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Centre and the Holy See Press Office.

So, for regular updates on The Pope and the Catholic Church's take on the major problems facing the world today, subscribe to the Vatican on YouTube.


The YouTube Team

YouTube's influence in politics hasn't been just an American phenomenon. Around the world, voters have been using YouTube to speak up on political issues. We've done televised election programming in Spain (, the UK (, not to mention Greece and Poland. And now, for the first time in the history of Israel, the public has had the opportunity to submit questions directly to the candidates for Prime Minister - which will be aired in live public forums on Channel 2 news, Israel's most popular news channel. So far, over 250 video questions have been submitted.

Here are a few examples:

Now, Israeli citizens get to help determine which questions get asked of the three candidates, Tsipi Livni, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Go to to vote on the questions you think are best.

At the end of this week, the winning questions will be announced and would later on be broadcast live on channel 2 News and answered by the candidates. Furthermore, the winners will be invited to the studios to actually attend the candidates' interviews.

Naturally, the current events in Israel have brought the public to a new level of awareness and involvement over who will lead the country during this difficult time. We encourage you to go and vote for questions at


The YouTube Team

We're happy when we can help YouTube users enjoy the content they love, and we're happy when we can help our partners build their businesses online – but we're happiest when we can do both.

That's why last year we launched our eCommerce platform for YouTube, which allows users to easily "click-to-buy" products -- like songs and movies -- related to the content they're watching on the site. The past few months have demonstrated that great content on YouTube leads to increased sales. For example, when Monty Python launched their channel in November, not only did their YouTube videos shoot to the top of the most viewed lists, but their DVDs also quickly climbed to No. 2 on Amazon's Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent.

Today we're expanding the program beyond the US and the UK. Links to songs from the iTunes Store will now appear in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, so users from those countries who are drawn to a particular song can easily purchase it. And it's not limited to tracks on videos uploaded directly by our partners – partners can add these links to videos uploaded by users by using our our Content ID tools to claim videos that match their content.

We're also expanding and improving the ways in which these links are displayed. You may start to see click-to-buy links appearing as semi-transparent overlays that appear in the bottom of the video for a short period of time. This increased visibility should help even more people take advantage of this program.

As we said when we first launched click-to-buy links, this is just the beginning – over time, we're aiming to open up the program to cover many types of content beyond music. We've already experimented with links to purchase DVDs and video games, and we intend to experiment with links to additional types of products soon.

Happy shopping,

The YouTube Team

Today, Barack Obama will be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. Here at YouTube, we've seen the two-year-long presidential campaign unfold through video -- with hundreds of thousands of videos produced by the campaigns, created by voters, and re-mixed and mashed-up by the community in innumerable ways.

Obama inspired people all over the world to take ownership over his campaign with messages of hope and change, and as the first African-American to assume this office, he will make history today when he is sworn in on the steps of the Capitol at noon in Washington, D.C.

In honor of the historic nature of today's inauguration, we are dedicating the YouTube homepage to past presidential inaugural addresses. We partnered with C-SPAN to retrieve these speeches from its digital archives. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech during the Great Depression in 1933 to George W. Bush's first inaugural address in 2001, just months before the September 11 attacks, today's homepage provides a comparative view of American presidents on the day each took office.

We hope that history geeks, political buffs, and everyday citizens alike will enjoy remembering these remarkable events. If you miss Obama's address at noon Eastern, you can find it here on YouTube soon afterward.

Happy Inauguration Day!


Olivia M.

YouTube News & Politics


In late 2008, we once again challenged our community of YouTube experts to get creative and make helpful videos to accompany a few of our Help Center articles. The YouTube community did not disappoint and we're excited to announce another set of user videos now included in our Help Center!

Congratulations to destorm, BeforeAndAfterTV and rewboss for their awesome contributions to helping the community learn more about the following concepts:

Didn't get a chance to participate? Weren't really interested in the choices we offered? Very soon, we'll be opening every Help Center entry to receive video submissions. More details to come...

Stay Tuned,

The YouTube Help Team

It's not often you're offered the opportunity to receive an all-expense-paid trip to meet with the world's top leaders and thinkers, just for speaking your mind. But thanks to the World Economic Forum and YouTube, you are. However, time is running out for the chance to attend this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Check out the Davos Debates YouTube channel now - and weigh in on the four key questions posed there. Then upload your video response to the question you find most interesting. WEF will choose the most compelling video submitted and then fly the maker of that video all the way to Davos to participate in forums with the heads of state, CEOs, and thought leaders from around the world. There are just 5 DAYS LEFT to submit your video - so enter today. The deadline is January 20th.

In addition to awarding a trip to the maker of the best video, WEF will play a selection of other videos submitted to the Davos Question channel at panel sessions throughout the Forum, where world leaders will listen to your thoughts and opinions as they debate these issues. So tell them your personal stories: how are the world's new challenges affecting your life, and what do you want to see your leaders do to make the world a better place?

The world economy may be in crisis, but it is collaboration and fresh thinking from diverse sources that will move us towards the right solutions. Have your say today.


Steve G.

YouTube News & Politics


WASHINGTON, D.C. and SAN BRUNO, CA – (January 12, 2009) – The 111th United States Congress and YouTube today announced the launch of official Congressional YouTube channels. Each Member of the House and Senate will have the opportunity to create and control their own YouTube channel that citizens can locate on a Google Map interface on two new platforms - The House Hub ( and The Senate Hub ( - making it easy for people to interact with videos that offer an inside look at their elected officials in action on Capitol Hill.

“These channels will allow people to get an inside look at the work that their elected representatives are doing in Washington,” said Steve Grove, YouTube’s head of news and politics. “They also enable citizens and their leaders to have a direct dialogue about the issues facing the country.”

Recently, both houses of Congress adjusted rules regarding posting content to third party websites, permitting the same access pioneered during the election season to carry over to government. As a result all members of Congress can create, manage and control their own individual YouTube channels. Several Representatives and Senators, who can be found at the House and Senate Hub on YouTube, have already created YouTube channels where they post videos of floor speeches, committee hearings, behind-the-scenes footage and more to YouTube.

The Democratic and Republican leadership of both the House and Senate announced the initiative today in a YouTube video featured on YouTube’s homepage:

“Americans, now more than ever, turn to the web to get their news – our YouTube channels serve as a direct line to what's happening in Congress,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) added, “Through my YouTube channel I can address the most important issues our country and my state faces, and hear suggestions from people about how to solve our most pressing problems.”

“The Internet presents the biggest communications opportunity on Capitol Hill since television and the rise of political cable channels,” said Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY). House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) added, “YouTube and other popular new media tools help to provide a level of access and transparency that has never been seen before in government, while helping us to solicit feedback directly from the American people.”

About YouTube

YouTube is the world's most popular online video community allowing millions of people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. YouTube, LLC is based in San Bruno, Calif., and is a subsidiary of Google Inc.


YouTube Communications

Aaron Ferstman

Office of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Drew Hammill


Office of the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Rodell Mollineau

Office of John Boehner

Nick Schaper

Office of Mitch McConnell

Moon Sulfab

Valentine's Day may be a month away, but we're already talking amore in the YouTube Screening Room. For the next two weeks, we're featuring a collection of films that tackles the most ubiquitous of human emotions…love. But don't be fooled: these aren't your grandma's love stories. These films deal with love in all its glory and all its disappointment.

First up, we're proud to present Dan Klores' award-winning feature documentary, Crazy Love, in advance of its television premiere this Saturday at 10pm on The Sundance Channel. Crazy Love explores the true and astonishing story of Burt and Linda Pugach, who married after Burt spent 14 years in prison for his violent and psychologically complex display of affection for Linda.

Along with Klores' documentary, we're featuring 3 outstanding shorts:

In Michelle Lehman's "Marry Me," which won the 2008 Tropfest Festival, a young girl who has a crush on her next door neighbor learns the all-too-truthful lesson that, sometimes, the chase is better than the catch.

And in Hayley Stuart and Francesca Sophia's "How To Say I Love You," we witness the struggle for intimacy among a generation that has replaced personal interaction with online communication.

This collection of love stories has something for the lovers and the fighters, so we hope all of you enjoy watching.

With love,

Sara P.

YouTube Film

Since the launch of Project: Report back in September, aspiring journalists have been working hard to report on important stories in their communities. Our five finalists have prevailed through three rounds of competition and are within touching distance from the grand prize: a $10,000 fellowship with the Pulitzer Center to report on a story abroad.

Now is your last chance to vote on their third and final videos to decide who you think deserves the opportunity to travel the world and become a global correspondent. There are some great stories here - check them out:

Voting ends tomorrow, January 9, at midnight PST. So don't waste any time -- visit the Project: Report channel to watch the finalists' Round 3 submissions and then vote for the videos you find the most compelling.

The winner will be announced on Monday January 12, 2009, so stay tuned!

Happy Voting,

Olivia M

YouTube News & Politics

From scores of submissions, the programming team at the Sundance Film Festival whittled down YouTube's Project: Direct competition to 10 finalists, to be voted on by you, the YouTube community. At stake: a trip to the 2009 Sundance Film Festival to meet with the Festival's director of programming, a special industry screening, and invaluable exposure that will help one worthy filmmaker turn their hobby into a career.

Now, after a week of voting, the ballots have been counted, and without further ado, we're pleased to announce this year's winner...

Congratulations to the talented writing and directing team behind Perfecto. In this upbeat tale of true love amidst hidden identities, nothing can stop the romance between a small-town thief and her mysterious Latin fiancé... not even the police. A hilarious and heart-warming film, we're excited to see it make the jump from the YouTube small screen to the Festival big screen.

A hearty congratulations, as well, to the runners-up: White Collar Criminals and Good Deeds and the Damage Done. Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank and congratulate everyone who submitted films to the competition: your hard work is proof positive of the fantastic film talent that lives on YouTube. We can't wait to see your future masterpieces.

To check out the winners and other finalists, just visit the Project: Direct channel.

Happy filmmaking,

Sara P.

YouTube Film

While we're all wishing for health, happiness and love in 2009, the 10 finalists in YouTube's Project Direct short film competition are likely hoping the New Year will bring something entirely different: a chance to attend the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as the winner of Project Direct!

Their fate will be sealed in approximately 24 hours after all of you cast your final ballots at

To make your last chance to vote easy, we've featured all of the top 10 entries, which come from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Brazil, on the home page today. Watch them all and then visit the contest channel to vote for your favorites.

The winning entry and the top two runners-up will also receive cash prizes and DVD distribution to top Hollywood executives attending the Sundance Film Festival.

So make a filmmaker's New Year's wish come true and vote now!

Happy Voting,

Sara P.

YouTube Film

So here it is: 2009. And after our 24-video marathon run through 2008’s memorable moments, hopefully you’re feeling suitably entertained and fired with enthusiasm for the year ahead.

But before we move on into the unknown, let’s take closer look at some of the videos we have featured through the day – be it for the sake of Auld Lang Syne, or just for kicks. Because here at YouTube there is nothing we like more than a bit of backstory to place a video in context.

Weezer: Pork and Beans

Weezer's video hit YouTube on May 23. Drawing on 24 of the biggest viral hits the site has seen to date -- from "Dramatic Chipmunk" to "Miss Teen USA 2007 South Carolina" to Tay Zonday's "Chocolate Rain" -- the video salutes some of the most memorable moments and people in YouTube's history, generating more than 15,500,000 clicks in the process and creating (dare we say it) a video that transcended the sum of its estimable parts.

Christian the Lion

This story of an unbreakable bond between man and beast was one of the most talked about videos of 2008. It briefly chronicles the true story of a lion being reunited with the two men who raised him, years after he'd been released back into the wild and become the leader of his own pride. The actual reunion took place in 1972, but this archive footage was rediscovered and posted to YouTube earlier this year. If one video saw tears stain the leathery cheeks of the battle-hardened YouTube Team over the past 12 months, this was it…

Frozen Grand Central

The New York-based collective Improv Everywhere have become firm favorites on YouTube, thanks to their unique public hijinks. Videos like "No Pants Subway Ride" and "Food Court Musical" offer good examples of their large-scale pranks, but the elaborate public performance "Frozen Grand Central Station" was especially popular. The video features more than 200 people simultaneously freezing in place at Grand Central Station in New York City; the reactions of onlookers are as striking as the stunt itself. They claim to ‘cause scenes’ – they don’t lie.

Where The Hell Is Matt?

Matt Harding is best known as the goofy guy who danced his way around the world. But Harding's frankly risible grooving has brought inspiration and joy to millions of people -- over 14 million have viewed it on YouTube alone. As one observant user said: "It shows that no matter how different we are on the outside, inside we all just want to dance, laugh, and have fun."

Rick Astley: Never Gonna Give You Up

Chances are that at some point in 2008, you or someone you know experienced a "Rick Roll": a bait-and-switch prank that dupes you into watching the video for Rick Astley's 1980s hit "Never Gonna Give You Up." The joke even transcended the Internet with organizers of football games, parades and rallies "Rick Rolling" unsuspecting attendees. But perhaps the ultimate "Rick Roll" occurred on April Fool's Day, when YouTube rigged up every feature to the video. Then he was pronounced Best Act Ever by MTV Europe after – you guessed it – an internet poll. You naughty, naughty people. Yes We Can Obama Song

When Barack Obama delivered his concession speech after the New Hampshire primary, little did he know he was providing the script -- and the inspiration -- for the most-watched political video of 2008.'s "Yes We Can" music video, a celebrity-studded mash-up of Obama's speech, became an instant viral sensation upon its release in early February, and arguably had a massive influence on Election '08 and popular culture. Seen over six million times just on's official YouTube channel, the video has inspired voters, young people, and satirists alike.

Fred Loses His Meds

Who says you can't become an overnight success on YouTube? Not 15-year-old Lucas Cruikshank, or Fred Figglehorn as he is known to fans, who created a Web series in which he plays a hyperactive six-year-old with anger management issues. Fred's hyper-kinetic videos quickly caught people's attention and helped make him the fastest-rising star in YouTube history. The above video (his second) was Fred's first to break a million views, jump-starting his meteoric rise to his current position as the No. 1 Most Subscribed user on YouTube.

Star Wars according to a three-year-old

This sweet-faced little lady became a YouTube sensation with her retelling of the original Star Wars movie. Fans of the film can go on for hours discussing the plot, but this three-year-old sums it up in less than two minutes. If not the most detailed description of Star Wars ever, it's arguably the most adorable. Warning: Spoiler Alert.

The Miley Cyrus Story

Not only did Miley release a hit song (and video) this year with 7 Things, which inspired several user-generated parodies (some of them nearly as popular as the original), but the Hannah Montana star also launched her own YouTube channel, MileyMandy with best friend Mandy Jiroux. The girls have used their channel to vlog and generally horse around for their audience of over 292,000 subscribers, and it's also where they post their M&M Cru dance battle videos, which together have notched nearly 15 million views and took the world's "biggest online dance battle" to a whole new level.

Super Mario Rescues The Princess: Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade

As the creator of Family Guy and American Dad, Seth MacFarlane has had a tremendous impact on animated entertainment. This year, MacFarlane opted to launch Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy exclusively on Google and YouTube. Not only was this a groundbreaking event for online video, it also showcased the financial opportunities that online advertising can offer film-makers (not that this comes as much surprise to members of the YouTube Partner Program).

Now we’ve had our say, we’d love to hear what you made of our end-of-year round up. Leave your comments below – it wouldn’t be YouTube without a little back and forth now, would it?

Here’s to a video-rich 2009,

The YouTube Team