Mad Decent’s latest artist to disrupt digital trends, Baauer, hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week with his suddenly huge hit, ‘Harlem Shake’, a moombahton-inspired dance track that references the classic 1981 dance of the same name. Interestingly, it is only because of Billboard’s recent rule change (no doubt, inspired by ‘Gangnam Style’s’ viral impact) that incorporates Youtube views and Spotify streams into the chart formula. Thus, ‘Harlem Shake’ – a virtual non-starter on the national airplay front – has climbed to the top spot on its views alone. Ironically, the song doesn’t even have an official video – it has thousands of them. A comedian named Filthy Frank started it all, when he uploaded his own “Harlem Shake” video – a 30 second clip of him doing a demented version of the dance before ‘losing it’ at the drop – earlier this month, quickly spawning thousands of imitation clips, which have generated in the range of 50 million views in a few short weeks. Does this mean visual memes alone will power future hits to #1? Or does it mean music videos will find a much-needed return to importance in positioning a song’s status in the public? Both are intriguing possibilities. Watch Filthy Frank’s ‘original’ ‘Harlem Shake’ video above.
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