Friday, 10 March 2017

Alright Boys and Girls put on your lucky underwear, strap on your seatbelts, turn the volume up to 11 and smile for the camera because on this week’s episode of “Oh yeah that song” we are going to have a discussion on “Viral Videos”. Of course, to keep in tune with my blog’s overall theme we will detail the effects of virality to the promotion of artists.

To start off with let’s just gloss over what virality is within online mediums. Taken from, virality is “The tendency of an image, video, or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another; the quality or fact of being viral.” So, for something to go viral it requires a large number of online users to share or repost a piece of media within a very short amount of time. The most common type of viral videos can be a singular video being passed around like a new born baby or it can be a theme that multiple users use to film themselves hopping onto the virtual bandwagon.

Due to the mob culture of the internet, songs and artists can become internet sensations overnight skyrocketing them into fame. Social media has provided the rocket for the rocket fuel that artists produce and have resulted in some individuals forming a successful career from it. In other cases, they have only become one hit wonders and have crash landed in the graveyard of memes that is internet pop culture.

Now that that has been addressed let’s start this rollercoaster and see some examples of virality in action. (Warning: some of these examples may trigger you and bring back some repressed memories. User discretion is advised)

First off, let’s look at a duo who have sculpted a career out of a song going viral. These two lads, Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, comprise electronic dance sensation The Chainsmokers. Before they became household names and regulars at some of the most attended music festivals, The Chainsmokers rose to fame through the virality of their song #Selfie.

#Selfie was a song that The Chainsmokers had produced as a joke targeted at the vanity of society. The song blew up and within 4 weeks it had 12.1 million views on YouTube. In addition to the song itself, the “Let Me Take a Selfie” fad surged on Vine with 23,000 videos tagged #letmetakeaselfie. The Chainsmokers very convincingly proved that they were not one hit wonders and currently their song “Closer” featuring the siren songstress Halsey was No.1 on the UK charts for 4 weeks and is currently still in the TOP 40’s thirty-one weeks after its release.

Next, let’s look at the faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar end of the spectrum and study the vocal prowess, lyrical genius, onscreen presence and viral enigma that is Rebecca Black. This is where that trigger warning becomes relevant.

In case you didn’t know, Rebecca Black is an amateur YouTuber who back in March 2011 had a dream of being a famous singer. Now she’s famous for her singing with her chart toping debut single “Friday” currently having a staggering 2.5 million dislikes. During the time that “Friday” was invading everyone’s feeds it had more dislikes than Justin Bieber’s “Baby”.

The video was shared and posted all over the internet on sites such as Tosh.0, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and was a top trend on Twitter after being initially found by The Daily What. Black even was invited to do live renditions of “Friday” on ABC Good Morning America and NBC Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Now, I’m not saying that “Friday” is on my End of Week Party Playlist but the song generated so much discussion online which she or ARK had no control over. She was very easily the most detested “singer” during the spring of 2011 where some of the comments that were targeted towards her were well past the cyber bullying threshold.

Black, however, was only a one trick pony even after releasing a follow up single titled “Saturday”. Black however did appear on the music video for Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” and currently is still releasing music.

As seen from these two contrasting examples, virality is the result of the astonishing rate that information can pass through the internet and due to this, careers can be made. Some more beneficial than others but the point still stands. Some other examples of songs that reached fame through trending fads are:

“What does the fox say – Ylvis”
“Harlem Shake – Baauer”
“Gangnam Style – PSY”
“We Might Be Dead Tomorrow – Soko”
“Never Goona Give You Up – Rick Astley”
“Ultimate – Denzel Curry”

Now if you must take a life lesson away from this just remember kids, be careful when posting videos of yourself rapping a few bars over Thomas the tank engine cause you might just be remembered by 300 million online users as the Thomas the Tank Engine Kid and that will be your life legacy.

Stay Tuned.


  1. Oh my gosh, some of these brought back not entirely pleasant memories! I think a lot of this is just about something catching people's attention at exactly the right moment - and the difficulty is that no-one can predict when that moment will be...

    1. I agree. This is a result of the internet mob mentality that i mentioned. In my opinion though it can be slightly predicted since something goes viral when the internet is bored and needs a new target.