A new video goes viral on the Internet every week. However, when a low-budget music video explodes in popularity it leaves industry professionals asking one simple question; why?
That’s why we’re here; we’re going to take you through a countdown of the weirdest, most successful viral music videos and ask: what happened to viral music videos?
6. Rebecca Black
Around March 2011, a young American teenager released a song that went so viral the Internet nearly exploded. Well… not really, but you get the idea. ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black shot to fame over just one weekend and it wasn’t long before this seemingly “home-made” video became serious success. It quickly broke into the charts, peaking at 60 in the UK and 58 in the US.
This was the first time that industry professionals finally realised that the Internet is a powerful medium, so much so that even low-budget songs can become a success. The original video was taken down over legal disputes between Ms Black and the producers, Ark Music, however the current video on YouTube – posted in September 2011 – has racked up a healthy 55.7 million views. Nice going Rebecca!
5. Froggy Fresh
Up next are the brilliantly styled lyrics of Froggy Fresh (formerly Krispy Kreme) and Money Maker Mike. Their best hit to date, entitled ‘Best Friends’, has a steady 6.3 million views and became quite the sensation on the net back in the summer of 2012. Despite lyrics such as “James and Mike had beef last week, cuz James ran over Mike’s bike with a Jeep” and “I started off towards James’ house, and I was moving quiet like a mouse”, the South-American rapper has never revealed his real name – oooh, mysterious!
Despite his apparent lack of intelligence, the rapper has a unique likeness about him. During his ‘career’, he has gathered over 20 million channel views and released an album on iTunes called Money Maker Reloaded. So if his music career is keeping his fans and himself happy, is there a reason to stop him?
4. Sophia Grace and Rosie
YouTube is well-known sharing location for parents taking videos of their children doing funny or extraordinary things. However, British sisters Sophia Grace and Rosie grew a huge following after a video of them singing Nicki Minaj’s hit song ‘Super Bass’ went viral.
If you were to search ‘Sophia Grace and Rosie’ on YouTube today, you too would find the amount of videos featuring the siblings staggering! The original video reached 42.7 million views, whilst another version, featuring Minaj herself on the daytime American TV show Ellen, has gained over 62 million views! Now starring as regulars on the Ellen show, Sophia Grace and Rosie are adorable, energetic and they have guts: what isn’t to love about them?!
3. Nicole Westbrook
Some have dubbed her Rebecca Black number 2, but despite the comparisons Nicole released her song ‘It’s Thanksgiving’ in November 2012. If you have a keen eye, you’ll also notice that the guy rapping in the song is exactly the same guy that stars in Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ video. Creepy.
Ignoring the additionally similarly creepy fact that he is the only grown up at a children’s party in the video, the song is incredibly horrible too. Nevertheless, the Internet loves weird things, and that’s why this video has over 14 million views.
2. Carly Rae Jepsen
Canadian popstar Carly Rae Jepsen’s single ‘Call Me Maybe’ was the summer music phenomenon of 2012, but how did it really get so popular? The song became the first Canadian single to top the digital chart since Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’, but it was Bieber himself who helped to propel Carly’s success. After performing a cover of the song, Bieber’s army of loyal fans went mad and before you knew it – the ‘Call Me Maybe’ was number 1 in over 20 different countries! Oh, Beliebers.
Despite being the first viral music video that was professionally produced, its humorous narrative is what pushed the song in to the gaze of the masses online. However, the catchy upbeat tune is what made it soar across radio sets all over the UK, before finishing at a very prosperous 2nd place in the end of 2012 charts.
‘Gangnam Style’ is without doubt one of the most successful viral videos of all time, but – unlike our first 4 videos – this is once again a release from a professional singer. However this isn’t the first song by Psy, nor the second or third. ‘Gangnam Style’ is the 18th single released by our Korean, K-Pop friend, so what made it so popular?
Overall the video is crazy, the music is upbeat, and the ‘horse-riding’ dance is memorable; so what isn’t to enjoy? Okay we don’t understand the lyrics (except “Eh, sexy lady” and “You know what I’m sayin’?”), but isn’t music supposed to lack boundaries? Despite our lack of comprehension, the video still amassed 1 billion – yes 1,000,000,000 – views on YouTube, making it the most watched video in the history of the website.
Looking at the trend in viral videos it is apparent that the music industry has begun to understand what the public, and the Internet, are looking for in viral videos. We’re now beginning to move away from the home-video style of music video, whilst past viral artists such as Miss Jepsen and Psy are now gaining a genuine following.
We’re by no means ruling out the idea that there will be a curve ball in the future, and some unknown artist will rise to short-lived fame as Rebecca Black once did, but it appears that the professional industry is now attempting to make viral hits just as much as “normal” people are too. We’d love to hear your thoughts on viral clips, but for now we’re off to have a dance with our K-Pop hero, Psy. “Oppa Gangnam Style!”
If you have a couple more minutes to spare, why not check out the past week’s other content?