*Twinsthenewtrend, an exciting duo out of Gary, Indiana which consists of twin brothers Timothy and Fred Williams, has been causing quite a stir, to say the least. The YouTube sensations have a series of charming videos in which they review songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s, which not only has catapulted them into worldwide sensations, but have also revitalized some of the careers of the artists they’ve reviewed.
But is YouTube getting in their way?
“They’re blocking our videos and that’s crazy,” said Timothy Williams, in their first podcast, broadcasted on YouTube on November 11, 2020.
Twinsthenewtrend’s rise to popularity is based on a concept that displays their reactions, “First Time Hearing,” of songs. Their attractiveness can be best explained by their reactions to their hearing hits popular with older listeners for generations.
Raised primarily on Gospel and Christian rap music, their most popular review, Phil Collins’ megahit “In the Air Tonight,” generated more than six million views in three weeks, resulting in an 1100 percent spike in the sales of Collins’ original song, according to Rolling Stone Magazine.
Superstar country artist and actress Dolly Parton, on Twitter, also acknowledged the duo. They reviewed her song “Jolene.”
“No point in begging…,” mused Dolly Parton. “Jolene already stole these two.” And when they reviewed Alicia Keys’ “Fallin,” calling Keys “a cold-blooded killer” insinuating that she was other-worldly by calling her a “robot,” Keys playfully responded on Twitter, saying “It’s not the first time I’ve heard people call me a robot, but I promise I’m not.”
The twins have started a trend, a trend that could steer music in an old school direction. But why have their videos soared in popularity?
“Because we’re Black,” said Fred Williams in a recent interview with CNN, “and they don’t expect us to listen to that type of music.”
And the prospect has generated a fan base for the twins they couldn’t have possibly expected-including a review of former President Barack Obama’s playlist in which the ex-leader of the free world talked about his choices with them on a Zoom call. “That was crazy,” said Timothy of having former president Barack Obama break bread with them, in reviewing the president’s playlist.
“It was a surprise. We didn’t expect him to be on it. We were having a Zoom meeting with our managers and next thing you know, he just popped up. Just for him to look at our channel and appreciate what we do, that’s amazing.”
Their First “First Time Reaction.”
The concept of the twins’ “First Time Hearing” videos started from their strict upbringing. In an exclusive interview with EURweb, they broke it down.
“It came from just us living in a religious household at first, because we could only listen strictly to church music, we couldn’t listen to rap or anything like that,” said Timothy, who, along with Fred, lived with their grandparents as kids. “Even our radio stations were strictly gospel music. Our Grandpop was the pastor and our Grandmom was the First Lady (of their church) and you know how that goes.”
When the twins finally moved back in with their mother, Tiffany King-Richardson, who had suffered through a stint with drugs and prison, the twins were then able to experience different types of music.
“We started growing up and that’s when we started exploring different songs and music and we decided to put it in a channel of us listening to music for the first time. We had seen other peoples’ reaction videos, but they’re reacting to rap and everything. We just wanted to be different and react to music we’d never heard before.”
When they started, a viewer, in the YouTube comments suggested that they review a Frank Sinatra song.
“We did do a reaction video to some rap and I saw that under the comments someone suggested we review Frank Sinatra’s ‘Under My Skin,’ and we listened to that, and that was actually good,” he said. ” We were like, dang- if that’s good there has to be more stuff out there.”
When they discovered that their reaction video to “Under My Skin” ballooned to 50,000 viewers, they knew they were onto something.
“Everybody loved it,” he reflected. “Fox News reposted that song and everything and we said we’ve got to do more of this.”
In doing so, Twinsthenewtrend has not only revitalized sales for seasoned artists, they have gotten scores of many viewers, old and young to either re-appreciate songs that were classics, but introduce older music to a fresh, younger audience.
“Especially with youth now, we wanted to show people that it’s okay to listen to different types of music instead of listening to what you’re accustomed to-and only listening to the music that you’re around.,” Fred explained.
On their Instagram page, the first words you see are “God First.” The twins and their mother, Tiffany King-Richardson, have a deep spiritual foundation. However, their story, is by no means a Hollywood story, one wrapped up neatly in a bow. They have had to overcome obstacles, including drugs.
“I was a crack addict,” said Tiffany, who attributes her belief in a Higher Power as the primary factor that changed her life. “Now I’m a Court Order Mentor for Lake County Mental Health and a Certified Addiction Peer Recovery Coach. I’ve dedicated my life to helping people rise up from drugs and prison or any hurts, habits or hang-ups. I now work at a Cardinal Recovery here in Indianapolis, (Indiana) but have worked at Edgewater in Gary.” Tiffany recalls part of the turbulent life that she was able to change. “I endured sexual abuse and was on drugs,” Tiffany reflected, who served a stint in prison. “But then in prison, God saved me and I left a new woman in Christ. Then and only then I was able to impart good values, morals and good character into my children.”
“That even motivated us more,” said Timothy of how their mother turned her life around., “to stay on our path, be positive, do the right thing and just spread light to other people, who came from that situation.”
Although they grew up under less than favorable circumstances, their mother, a deeply religious woman, is proud of the progress she and her children have made in their lives.
“I was Godly proud of them,” said Tiffany. “All of their hard work of living right for God paid off. The Scripture says, let us not be weary in well doing because in due season you shall reap if we faint not. God changed me and then equipped me to have changed children.”
And Tiffany is justifiably proud. Her son’s videos and the effect they’re having on the social media re-glamorization of hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s are charming viewers into saying things such as what a viewer reported in the New York Times, that “your parents did a good job raising you, I’m subscribing,” or what a viewer said on their YouTube channel, “this video led me down like a six hour rabbit hole on this channel and pretty sure it cured my depression, bless ya’ll,” and another viewer to say “I’m 65 and LOVE these two young men…they just make my day with their positivity and open-mindedness…great ambassadors for the young to the older generation! Keep it up you guys, you’re the best.”
YouTube and Copyright- The Removal of Twinsthenewtrend videos from YouTube
However, the twins’ road to success has been fraught with a bit of a roadblock. Success often comes accompanied by pratfalls. YouTube recently pulled some of their videos for undisclosed reasons.
“There’s no videos being blocked, now all of a sudden, every video we’re doing is being blocked,” said Timothy Williams. With their rising popularity solidly placing them in the mainstream, fans have been looking for their new videos, only to discover a void in new content. “That’s why we put them on Patreon. All of our blocked videos are on Patreon. They’ve been blocking our videos left and right and it’s making me mad. We have to talk to YouTube corporation or something, this is getting ridiculous.“ Fred Williams, his brother chimed in: “They’re on a blocking spree,” he said. “Block, block block.” Timothy Williams made a perfect analogy. “Just imagine if you were getting ready to go to work and there’s a boot on your car.”
When we asked Timothy to speculate as to why their newest videos are being pulled, he had a candid response.
“It’s hard to explain,” he said. ” When you do a reaction video, labels don’t want you to do it, so they block it and everything, but that’s just a thing you just have to work with. We don’t get paid for reactions because the labels copyright us. We just do it for the love of the music. We don’t do it for the money.”
If record labels are getting a spike in sales because of the Twins’ reaction videos, how do record companies feel about it? After all, the record companies and their artists are receiving extra compensation from the Twins’ efforts. When we attempted to contact Virgin Atlantic, Phil Collins’ label, calls and e-mails were not returned.
Meanwhile, many YouTubers, including Twinsthenewtrend, have found that posting content on YouTube can be quite a lucrative venture. According to InfluencerMarketingHub.com, Google pays out 68% of their AdSense revenue, so for every $100 an advertiser pays, Google pays $68 to the publisher. The actual rates an advertiser pays varies, usually between $0.10 to $0.30 per view, but averages out at $0.18 per view. On average the YouTube channel can receive $18 per 1,000 ad views. This equates to $3-$5 per 1000 video views. In doing the math it’s fairly evident that the removal of twinsthenewtrend’s YouTube videos likely centers around the bottom line- money and financial compensation.
As of press time, several efforts by EURweb to reach a YouTube and Google Corporation spokesperson, were unsuccessful. In fact, reaching any corporate officials from YouTube and Google, has been unsuccessful.
You Tube’s terms of service states in part that “you must not submit to the Service any Content that does not comply with this Agreement (including the You Tube Community Guidelines) or the law.” It further states that “the Content you submit must not include third-party intellectual property (such as copyrighted material) unless you have permission from that party or are otherwise legally entitled to do so.” Also, You Tube’s terms of service discloses that YouTube uses automated software to “analyze your Content to help detect infringement and abuse, such as spam, malware, and illegal content.”
Attorney Richard B. Jefferson, Entertainment/IP Managing Partner, M.E.T.A.l. Law Group, LLP, speculates to EURweb as to why some of the twins’ videos may have been pulled.
“YouTube has automatic detection software that detects any kind of sound recording or musical composition,” said Jefferson. “So, what usually happens is it get flagged and YouTube has this agreement with the labels that they can allow that, because it’s actually copyright infringement- they don’t have the permission to re-record these, but YouTube has permission to let that play as long as there’s an ad share, and they’re allowed to put ads up. It’s all about a money thing. So that’s why some videos get pulled down and they never get put back up.”
With ad share revenue in mind, the prospect of making monumental sums of money seems to be a no-brainer for YouTube and recording artists with young phenoms leading the charge on a resurgence of older music, introducing younger fans to older, established artists and having the simultaneous effect of reviving some artists’ careers. Could it be, perhaps that some artists feel cheated out of royalties by what TwinsthenewTrend are doing?
“No, that’s probably not one of the concerns because the ad share- the money that’s generated from the ads- part of goes to the label and then it trickles down to the artists,” Jefferson explained. ” So, they actually make money off people that put their songs up. Phil Collins probably makes something off of that video.”
With artists and former artists having the potential to profit from TwinsthenewTrend’s YouTube videos, it’s puzzling why their videos are being pulled.
“I think it more stems on whether they feel it’s appropriate or whether they think it may hurt a song and I don’t know who makes that decision, maybe it’s someone within YouTube that might have to flag something- if there was a sensor that went up and someone used the song in the wrong way, like a major hit, then there may be some kind of approval rights that are behind the scenes that we don’t see. Different songs with different artists have different agreements with the labels. It’s more or less with the publisher. Some of them have approval rights over how their songs are used, so that could be part of it, too.”
Lucas Hilderbrand, a Professor at the University of California, Irvine, who authored a research work, “YouTube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Converge,” in Film Quarterly, explored the implications that are generating conflicts between posted user content and copyright concerns.
“YouTube’s popularity relies at least in part upon recirculated selections of mainstream media,” said Hilderbrand in the report. “As has been historically apparent with entertainment technologies, initial novelty often gives way to familiar content. Convergence usually means content redundancy across platforms, and YouTube perhaps relies more on mainstream media for source material than it threatens to displace it. Given this situation, the conflict becomes not only about what media audiences watch, but who can control and profit from it.” Hildebrand underlines a growing problem with YouTube content. “Such content, once in their grasp, can still be temporary,” said Hildebrand. “The initial novelty and glee at finding an unexpected clip soon gives way to frustration and disbelief when searches for something else come up matchless—or, increasingly, when a desired clip has been de-activated for copyright violation. “Content owners,” according to Hilderbrand, such as YouTube “not only financially benefit from publication, but they also have considerable control in deciding how content will enter the marketplace. “
“In many cases,” continued Hildebrand, “rights owners request to have streaming YouTube videos disabled not necessarily because they are competing with owners’ own residual marketing but because they want to maintain some kind of control over what is publicly accessible and how it is distributed.”
As previously mentioned, YouTube uses automatic detection software and according to Hilderbrand, “The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) forbids hacking encryption technologies” which “allows for offended parties to demand that online content be taken off-line without due process to prove infringement.” Were any of these factors the impetus of the removal of TwinstheNewTrend videos? As only YouTube can provide us with the answer to that question, we can only speculate.
Yes, TwinsTheNewTrend may be setting an exciting trend in music, but they could help their community in many other ways as well, by showing obstacles and mistakes can be overcome in a big way. They are determined to overcome their latest obstacle- YouTube and its curious decision to pull many of their videos. But you shouldn’t bet against Twinsthenewtrend and their rise to prominence. Their mother, on her Facebook, page has a saying posted on the power of redemption:
“Changed people change people,” said Tiffany King, mom of TwinstheNewTrend, who with her sons, are affecting a positive change in their communities.
TwinstheNewTrend YouTube Channel:
See their blocked YouTube content here: