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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spotting Hits Among Viral Videos


The fourth installment in the series from Coleman Insights, focusing on how listeners engage with music across traditional and emerging platforms, is out. This time Coleman is focusing on viral vids and bonafide hits. How do you tell the difference?

YouTube is a hot destination for young adults and music consumption, but just because a song has a zillion views doesn't mean it's destined to be a hit for radio. Songs such as Baauer's "Harlem Shake" and Rebecca Black's "Friday" racked up record-setting views, but aren't what radio would traditionally consider hit songs.

Coleman notes that songs that people mainly watch for just the video or novelty typically become Top 10 streaming hits in their first four weeks, but then tend to disappear just as quick as they emerge. It's a case of the classic shooting star with a quick burnout. Seventy-four percent of songs that become Top 10 on the Streaming Songs chart within their first four weeks stay Top 10 for less than four weeks. The songs that end up becoming Top 10 hits beyond YouTube, typically take longer than four weeks to get established, but are much more likely to remain hits in the long-term. Of the songs that took more than four weeks to become Top 10 on the Streaming Songs chart, nearly 70 percent of them stay Top 10 songs for four or more weeks.

The bottom line: Songs with viral videos launch quickly in popularity, but burn out just as fast. Songs that are actually hit-bound take longer to establish, but in the end are far more likely to remain big hits. When a song becomes an overnight YouTube shooting star, ask yourself:  Is it popular because it's a great song, or are those YouTube views driven by the video and/or the novelty? Common sense can usually flesh out the difference. If it's becoming a YouTube sensation after streaming for less than a month, odds are the song will crash almost as quickly as it took off.

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