A song with catchy tune and flashy visuals, that has caught the fancy of children across the world and made a number of parents and teachers roll their eyes –– Baby Shark –– made a new record on Monday, becoming the most-watched video on YouTube with more than seven billion views. Released four years ago, Baby Shark has beaten the Puerto Rican pop song Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.
What is the song about?
At one-minute-an-21-seconds long, the song’s repetitive “doo-doo-doo-du-du-du-du-du-du” refrain invites endless replays. Coupled with simple and easy to follow dance steps, it has become extremely popular among kids, especially under the age of five. Although it is unclear who the original writer of the song is, it is said to be a popular American campfire song which has been sung and recreated a couple of times.
However, Baby Shark became a global sensation after it was remixed and recreated by the Seoul-based production company Pinkfong. Sung by 10-year-old Korean-American singer Hope Segoine, the video of the English version of the song, released in June 2016, broke the record of being the most watched.
Although the song is in public domain and not owned by Pinkfong, the company was sued in 2019 by children’s songwriter Jonathan Wright, who had recorded a similar version to in 2011 and argued that he held copyright on his own take on the material.
Exactly how popular is the song?
Baby Shark became an international hit, reaching number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 2019, and also made it to the UK Top 40 list. Pinkfong stands to have made about $5.2 million (Rs 38.66 crore) from YouTube streams alone. The song first went viral in south-east Asia, and then in the US and Europe.
It prompted a spin-off live tour, merchandise, books and more, plus reworkings of the song, including one featuring Luis Fonsi and another promoting handwashing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Viral Internet Trend
The song became a viral internet trend in 2017, when scores of families and communities in Indonesia were uploading videos doing their versions of the dance.
In 2018, #BabySharkChallenge became a viral trend on TikTok. As it entered the top music charts in the UK, actor-comedian James Corden featured it on The Late Late Show, and crooned the hit song along with Sophie Turner and Josh Groban. “Once in a lifetime, a song comes along that defines a generation,” is how he introduced the song.
Last year, the Washington Nationals baseball team in the US also took it up as an anthem and went on to win the World Series, which prompted the White House to play the tune during the celebrations.
It has been used by law enforcement agencies, for which they have also been pulled up. At Florida’s West Palm Beach, the authorities played the song on repeat to discourage homeless people from congregating in a public area.
Three prison workers in Oklahoma were charged with prisoner cruelty after it came to light that they had allegedly handcuffed inmates and forced them to stand and listen to Baby Shark for over two hours.
District attorney David Prater had then said that playing the song on repeat could have added “undue emotional stress on the inmates who were most likely already suffering”. 📣 Click to follow Express Explained on Telegram
Which are the other most watched videos on YouTube?
Apart from Baby shark, currently, the five most viewed videos on YouTube include Despacito, which had become the first video on YouTube to reach the milestones of seven billion views; English singer-songwriters Ed Sheeran’s Shape of you, American rapper Wiz Khalifa’s See you again, and Masha and the Bear – Recipe for Disaster, an episode of a Russian animated television series, loosely based on the oral children’s folk story.
The other South Korean song that broke records was Psy’s Gangnam Style, when it became the first video to have a billion views on YouTube and held the title of being the most viewed video till it was dethroned by Justin Beiber’s Baby.