YouTube shock: How Janet Jackson has surprise link to creation of platform

YouTube has grown into one of the largest social platforms available on the internet, which allows users to upload original videos or even livestream events. It is one of Google’s subsidiaries and has become a global phenomenon in just 15 years. Bringing in an estimated $15billion (£11.94billion) per year, its popularity appears to be unwavering.

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Back in February, Rolling Stone magazine looked at how a performance between global stars, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, triggered YouTube’s founders to launch their video platform.

The two popstars performed at the Superbowl halftime show back in 2004.

It caused great controversy when Timberlake accidentally pulled too hard on Jackson’s top, exposing her entire breast.

The wardrobe malfunction, as Rolling Stone explained, caused “a national outrage”.

YouTube logo and Janet Jackson

YouTube logo and Janet Jackson (Image: Getty)

Jackson's performance with Timberlake in 2004 sparked the idea for YouTube

Jackson’s performance with Timberlake in 2004 sparked the idea for YouTube (Image: Getty)

The piece continued: “In February 2004, there was no such thing as a ‘viral’ video.”

It read: “Everyone was talking, blogging and AIMing about Janet and Justin – but if you skipped the Super Bowl and didn’t bother to set your TiVo or VCR, you had no chance to witness what all the fuss was about, beyond edited clips on the news.”

Back in 2006, Jawed Karim told USA Today how he, Chad Hurley and Steven Cehn realised there was a gap in the market for online video sharing.

He said: “I thought it would be a good idea.”

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The three YouTube creators and Bill Clinton, former President

The three YouTube creators and Bill Clinton, former President (Image: Getty)

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It launched a year after the 2004 halftime show and within another 12 months it had become an international sensation.

Mr Hurley and Mr Chen on the other hand said that they had originally envisioned a video version of an online dating service.

However, there was not enough dating video content, so instead they broadened their horizons and accepted any kind of video for their site.

According to Rolling Stone, this “led directly to Netflix and the whole stream-and-binge economy”.

By December 2005, the website had eight million views per day.

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Jackson's performance caused 'national outrage'

Jackson’s performance caused ‘national outrage’ (Image: Getty)

YouTube has paved the way for streaming services such as Netflix

YouTube has paved the way for streaming services such as Netflix (Image: Getty)

Former vice-president of content at Netflix, Robert Kyncl wrote in his 2017 book ‘Streampunks: YouTube and the Rebels Remaking Media’ how YouTube paved the way for Netflix.

How the chief business officer at YouTube, he wrote: “YouTube clearly demonstrated that people were willing to trade fidelity for convenience and speed.

“Witnessing the popularity of YouTube was a revelation.”


In the USA Today interview, Mr Karim recalled “the difficulties involved in finding and watching videos online of Jackson” – as well as devastating clips which showed the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.

He was the first person to upload a video to the website in April 2005.

It was called ‘Me at the zoo’ and has since been viewed approximately 89 million times.

Mr Karim was also one of Airbnb’s first investors, funding the company back in April 2009.

The online marketplace, which shows a range of accommodation available to clients, has boomed in recent years.