Luke Hood, The 19 Year Old From UKF Dubstep Tops YouTube Charts
To run the top UK YouTube channel, you'd have be some kind of switched on mega corporation, right?
To also own the second most popular, and the eighth as well, you're probably a multi-national with global reach and a hard-hitting digital dominance strategy with some kind of social media expert at the helm, yes?
Meet Luke Hood, 19, who runs UKF Dubstep. He's the tech young gun from Frome who is breaking the mould and smashing the stereotype of what you need to make it online.
Luke's four UKF music channels have over 1 million subscribers. UKF Dubstep comes tops, followed by UKF Drum and Bass, UKF Mixes and the dormant UKFMusic.
Luke tells Huffington Post over the phone: “It started as a casual thing on the side. I was working and trying to get into uni, then in the past year, it’s jumped by 900,000 subscribers and we’ve just hit 1 million. There was no original intention of a business being formed out of it.”
“I had always loved music, but it wasn’t something I anticipated. It was just a way that people at college could listen to the music I listen to. I would play it in the common room and people would ask about it, so I would put it on YouTube so they could listen to it.”
UKF Dubstep has exploded in popularity as the music genre has hit the mainstream. In Nov 2010, the channel had 100,000 subscribers, now its sits at over one million.
To master YouTube, he's used little other than his own taste in music.
“YouTube are supportive and give advice on growing subscribers, but they don't need to do much. We were one of the first music channels to use their live music service and they gave us homepage placement, which was great” he says.
His major challenges are time and finding the new music to profile, as he still hunts all the tunes himself.
“Because I still go through all the music myself and I have to do the accounts and organise the events, it’s hard to find new music that’s fresh and undiscovered.”
The secret to the channels' success is serving up what listeners want, rather than forcing a new format down their throats.
“It started as a bootleg service, like pirate radio, and then we had labels approaching us. They either give us clips or full tracks. The more YouTube views, the more it goes off in clubs and that benefits everyone.”
UKF is now so popular it filled Alexandra Palace with 11,000 in a show that sold out two months ahead of time, after packing out XOYO with just 350 people earlier this year.
A Forensic computing student who has recently dropped out of university, Luke has sold half of the brand to a company called AEI Media is about to move to London to make more inroads into total YouTube domination.
He plans to use YouTube's livestream function to broadcast events, targetting under-aged music lovers and foreign fans who don't get access to the UK's burgeoning bass scene.
Luke has released a Dubstep compilation available in supermarkets, but admits, he occasionally gets it wrong.
“You can’t always get it right. I’ve got it wrong before. Sometimes tracks don’t do well. But then you can put up someone new you think is a bit iffy, and they’ll get 250,000 views, get gigs and launch a career.”
The UKF Music channel is the next move for the nineteen year old with no time to listen for pleasure.
“That channel is the 8th in the UK. Would like to turn it into a bass music channel, because producers don’t want to just produce drum and bass, they want to produce different types of bass music. The music channel is there to be filled with variety,” he says.
And the F following UK in the brands name? It comes from little old Frome, his home town.