'Harlem Shake' tops Billboard chart because YouTube views count, now, and culture is dead


Sick of the "Harlem Shake" yet? God, I hope so. The videos have been littering the Internet for two weeks now. Everyone has done it. It's more played out than using the term "played out." The Good Morning America folks did it last week. Hell, Fox 29 already posted a two minute (WHY?) version as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln. It was a national travesty. This. Isn't. Funny. Anymore.

The problem now, though, is that Billboard has taken notice and decided to make YouTube views a part of its formula for determining the songs that make its Hot 100 chart. Thus, Baauer's "Harlem Shake" will make its debut at the top of the chart this week. Somewhere, Ricky Nelson is rolling over in his grave.

Download sales and Spotify streams of the track also skyrocketed. But the remarkable trajectory of “Harlem Shake” led Billboard to move forward right away on its methodology update, something it had been in discussions with YouTube about for nearly two years, Bill Werde, the magazine’s editorial director, said on Wednesday.

Billboard already takes streaming services like Spotify into account, which makes sense, considering that the Hot 100 used to be affected by jukebox plays. Nobody is dropping a handful of nickels into a jukebox anymore, so the chart is adapting. But, the new YouTube formula takes into account all of the awful videos people upload of their whole office doing the dance. Kind of like what happened with "Gangnam Style" last summer.

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” are the most prominent examples of this trend, but plenty of other recent hits — like Gotye’s Grammy-winning “Somebody That I Used to Know” — also owe much of their success to video virality.

Basically, this is all Harvard Baseball's fault. We'll never forgive you, Harvard Baseball. We'll never forgive you. [New York Times]