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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Peace is restored, for now

Last month I declared war against myself and set up some simple rules of engagement.  I would not publish reviews more than 3 days in a row, and I would take a minimum of 1 day off per week from uploading to my main YouTube channel altogether.  I'm happy to report today that I succeeded at those simple (but deceptively extraordinary) goals, and have achieved a state of armistice for the time being.  Let me share with you what I learned and accomplished during this unique & interesting period.

  1. Work on my LEGO city is valuable to viewers, but still can't compete with reviews.
    During the month of May I published two standalone MOC videos and six city updates against five reviews.  It is inescapable that custom work takes significantly longer than assembling pre-sorted parts according to full-color illustrated instructions, thus I'll never be able to pump out fully original content as quickly as coverage of others' (LEGO's) designs.  Even ignoring that, viewer interest (by the numbers) in my own work is consistently trounced by activity on reviews.  My video of the free little May the 4th promotional set got 64% more views than the following MOC I shared.  I made five cars for New Jang City and that got the same volume of views as a 5-month-old, ~150-piece Creator set, 10,000 less than my look at a Juniors dump truck and the Snow Groomer which both released last year.  The breakout best-performing city update from the month, published right at the end, thus far has accumulated just over 1/6th the watch time of my LEGO Stranger Things set review.  To the people who prefer my custom work to reviews, thank you for your support, but as I've said many times now, you do not speak for "most viewers." Not by a long shot.
  2. Work on my LEGO city is valuable to ME, and that means a lot.
    Taking a break from the review grind and making extraordinary progress on the big layout really refreshed my soul.  Simply put, I ended the month feeling better than when I began.  That had the unexpected, but much welcomed side effect of improving my mood & tone of voice for reviews, which helps people to enjoy those even more.  I also picked up the motivation to do another big round of improvements to my main white void studio where I film both official LEGO sets and custom builds.  This was not a result I was looking out for at all, but the correlation was pretty clear-cut. 


The May experiment was undeniably a success.  With my ratio of reviews to MOC-related videos artificially reversed, what has always been true remained true: Reviews win. Period.  However, not only do I derive far more enjoyment from custom building & city work, but that enjoyment is infectious and elevates and improves the value of the breadwinner content.  Clearly, I need to do both.  I didn't get any information to inform the ongoing brainstorm about how or whether to break apart my major content types into two channels for the viewers who do not want both (and who again, outnumber the kind supporters who do, but who also wouldn't be inconvenienced by a split).

I've yet to determine if another formulaic approach is warranted, but for now, starting with the Summer review season which is already in progress, I'm going to take far more breaks than in past years to keep my creative juices flowing and New Jang City progressing.  


  1. Something worth being aware of, is that of your most-watched videos ever, there are five MOCs before a single review. The big projects are the "set pieces" of your channel, like what the Ford GT is to the rest of the Ford brand. My only direct recommendation is to make sure to do a big "full tour" video of each one that's suitable for people who haven't watched the build progression.

    Speaking of which, aren't we due another full city walkthrough? There's a video you could make in a day and get 10 million views on.

  2. I give you my honest opinion: being a MOCer myself I’ve realized that, while our own creations makes us really happy, they often look boring to the rest of the world. I mean, people (may) like them, but they’re somehow not connected as it happens with a Lego set.
    I like your town a lot, and I’m not a Lego City guy. I love the love and efforts you put in it and I think you’re an hero just for your commitment in keeping dust away from it. :D
    But I often find myself jumping and skipping part of the videos. Not because they’re boring (they’re not) but because I usually don’t have much time to watch all my subscriptions videos.
    I guess a good compromise would be shorter videos, like your quick reviews (that I like a lot). Say 5-10 minutes max. Of course you have to do what makes you happy, but after years I follow it I feel Jang City a bit mine too, and I’d like to be able to quickly see its progresses and evolutions. :)

  3. Hey Jang,

    I watch 97% of your LEGO videos, and really appreciate all of them I do watch. I know I am in the minority (apparently), but they have helped to inspire me to do my own LEGO city which I love, and you have actually saved me money with your reviews because I don't buy the big expensive sets if I feel they wouldn't actually make me happy.

    Also, your cool and calm demeanor and otherwise egalitarian way of looking at things is refreshing, and sets a good example for the kids, and adults, that watch your channel(s). So thanks for doing what you do and may you always find happiness in it!

  4. I’ve been watching and rewatching your lighting progress since I am also in the market for a single switch, no batteries system. Your videos and reviews are invaluable, you are an asset to the entire Lego community. Thank you for your dedication and efforts!

  5. I really enjoyed your LED lighting project. At the beginning I wondered if you were keeping it limited to certain buildings, but then you came up with meters and meters of cheap LEDs on a wire - in the best sense of the word crazy! ;) Your city overall really profits from your rather scenic approach btw. Even without the lighting. Its really all about creating atmosphere :)

    Of course, I would have missed something without the reviews. I consult them on every set I plan to buy - well, actually I watch them anyway, but when something on reduced, I check out what you had to say about it a year or so ago, to refresh my memory. I also like how you keep calling out things like bad print quality on darker pieces or inflated prices.

  6. Work on the city and MOCs, so you enjoy it. Work on reviews to keep the lights on. I'm interested in both. ��

  7. I don't really consume a lot of content on YouTube. Personally, I don't see the point of splitting MOCs and reviews. If I'm not interested in a video I just don't watch it. You also have a lot of playlists setup for organizing content.

    Your videos are a cut above the rest. The production value is really good and you can see the improvements you've made over the years. But mostly, I appreciate that you are intelligent, knowledgeable about wide range of topics, thoughtful in your opinions, and considered in your demeanor.

  8. Hello Jang,
    I would have to say, having had a look around at your recent uploads I've finally understood all the effort and dilemma you've been facing recently. As I'm sure you're already very knowledgeable on, your views to subscribers is very low, sub 30K on some even.
    As such, I would like to offer my personal experience of your channel, having started watching some time around 2013/14 when you had you're black screen intros (and before the fire station was finished).
    Anyway, I was born in 2003, and that was right around the time I was really picking up huge interest in lego and having discovered YouTube, your videos were and continue to be excellent. However, like many late-teens, I have found myself entering a lego dark-age (most of my stuff remains in pieces since we last moved in 2017), and as such have lost interest in many videos of lego, I continue to watch every single MOC video, and the reviews (primarily city and creator) that interest me.
    I feel this is perhaps the reason for recent stagnation, unlike other genres such as Cars or travel, With Lego, the flame just simply goes out a lot more and among far more people.
    I would hate to be the position you are in. It reminds me of the main other youtube channel I watched, BrickTsar, a channel with 40k Subs, but usually well under 2K views per video. As we all know, videos showing 'LEAKED NEW LEGO SUMMER 2020 SETS!!!' are garnering the views, as shown by your thoughts on videos like that getting over 200k views each.
    My point overall, is rather than diversifying and setting up new channels, perhaps focusing more on the core stuff is better, I realize this is no doubt pointless for me to say, as you will doubtless have analyzed everything and considered things far more than I have, but I believe you are at a turning point. A few years ago, one could go to your channel, and see reviews of every single set released in the last wave. Now, you are right fully, scaling that back and axing stuff that isn't watched, which I would say is long term not going to work. I'm afraid I don't know what the best course of action is, obviously you shouldn't spend thousands of dollars on sets to make videos that get very few views, but at the same time you need to keep having content.

    Lastly, Thank you for all the effort you have, and continue to put into your work. Your opinion is always reasonable and thoughtful, and your channel's atmosphere very likeable. Please keep it up, and take whatever action you see fit.obviously my ideas/experiences are not the same as the average viewer, and I have not said much particularly useful I'm afraid.
    All the best,
    Wolfgang Kellerman