Why does so many songs that would never be considered by any producer or customer reach such popularity on the internet?
Well, to find that out, you’d need to talk to several psychologists and psychoanalysts that have done intense studies on this, but since nobody really wanna listen to these songs, not really, no such studies have been made. Therefore I have drawn my own conclusions on the matter.
Let’s take a recent example, Gnesa – Wilder. This song was either a joke or meant as a private video, but somehow it didn’t just reach the public, it reached over 2 million views in just a month. I will try to keep the criticism as low as possible, but I would have to write some in order to point out the base of my analysis (Sorry Gnesa and the other artists, I’m sure you’re great people). The music is droning and the song sounds like it was meant to be auto-tuned, but someone forgot to put it in. So why did it get that many views? Because people are using it as a joke, they send it to their friends to annoy them. Well, that’s part of it at least, because there would be some people that actually like the music.
My second example would be Rebecca Black – Friday. Blacks parents gave her a recording session and a music video production for her birthday, but forgot to give her singing lessons and practice before. Nothing bad against Black, I think she does have potential, she just needs practice. Now we’re starting to detect a slight improvement in quality as we traveled back in time. The song is not unique in any way, it’s a run-of-the-mill song with lyrics that just describes what is going on around the singer, like any party tune, but the quality still holds up. Again, this was mostly seen as something to pass on to your friends to annoy them, but this one went further, it became famous in the mainstream media as well and due to peoples fanaticism about getting their friends to hear it, people even downloaded it from iTunes, meaning it got ratings on the official lists, such as the Billboard Top-100. It went so far that you saw parodies of it on television, with among others the popular television series Glee.
Next up we have Justin Bieber. This boyish artist have become the object of love and hate alike and both sides helped pushing him to the top. We’re further back than Rebecka Black and again we see an increase in quality. This time it’s not only professionally produced, it’s also performed by someone with actual talent. The downside is that it’s really nothing special. Again, run-of-the-mill lyrics and composition, nothing different from the high-school singer, singing about love and everything pink and fluffy, but again it was used to annoy others, thereby spreading it so far. This is the by far longest living of the examples and span over many of the others, thou the annoyance factor have been toned down lately, as has the boys fame.
All of those are good examples, but how did it start and why is it so popular to annoy people with bad music?
Well, first things first, this started back around the year 2001, when internet became a household thing, everybody and their grandmothers (literally) suddenly had this communication device that could keep them semi-anonymous and anyone who have seen anyone behind a mask without knowing their identity knows they do that when they are up to no good. Someone dug up an old record from the 80’s where a boy was singing a standard love song. The boys name was Rick Astley and most of the younglings that was sitting by the computers back then had never heard of him. Someone came up with the great idea to hide the song Never Gonna Give You Up in links with other names and this was annoying for most people involved, but harmless and kindof funny to watch. It took a long time before this trend, called a Rick Roll, died out and others tried to replicate the fame of it to fetch their 15 minutes in the limelight. This could be the first example of what’s now called a Viral Video.
In the late stages of the Rick Roll fame, a boy in his late teens with an amazing voice recorded a song about nothing at all, just to show off his voice. The boy was Tay Zonday and his song Chocolate Rain was picked up by some of those who wanted those 15 minutes of internet fame. They noticed that you could get the annoyance factor without having to go through so much trouble to hide it by simply choosing a song that wasn’t that good. Zonday spent about a year and a half rolling in the fame and got a bit of a fortune by placing ads around his channels on the internet, since so many visited them, not realizing that it was not for the “good song”, but for a joke that he got so much attention.
Zonday tried to replicate the original fame by releasing other tracks and spent most of his money on the follow-up, Cherry Chocolate Rain, that used the exact same melody and the exact same, monotone voice but now with some meaning in the lyrics, mainly how he became a celebrity with the first song. This was a bad idea, as he would later realize. Since people wasn’t after Zondays music, just the one song, the follow-up bombed and it is uncertain if he managed to recover financially from that fall. He has since mostly done covers of popular songs that was originally sung with deep voices, as that is his strength, but none of them have reached the million view mark so far.
The reasons for why it is so popular to annoy people with music is because music sticks in your mind. It’s almost like torture, because even when the music player is off, you’ll have the song stuck in your head for hours, sometimes even days. It’s a psychological equivalent of a schoolmate slapping you in the back of the head when he walks past you, it’s mostly harmless but he’d get a chuckle out of it and when you walk past him next time you might do the same to him and get a chuckle out of it. The truth is that this is all speculations on my part, but that is my two cents on the matter, what do you think?