If you’re a regular reader you know that the TuneCore Blog is here to offer news, advice and tips for independent artists looking to advance their musical careers. If “going viral” were something we could simply and practically suggest to every artist, we would! But anyone using platforms like YouTube and Vine, whether to promote themselves or entertain themselves, knows that the ‘viral phenomenon’ is just that – a phenomenon.
A couple of months back, little-known Atlanta hip hop artist Silento released his track, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)“, produced and co-written by Bolo Da Producer and distributed to online stores via TuneCore. By early March, “Watch Me” had broke into Billboard’s March Hot 100, climbing to #69. Not a bad jump for an unsigned, 17-year old with no prior recordings released, right?
The reason “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” has seen such success isn’t just thanks to its contagious beat and catchy hook – it’s the dance that the chorus instructs listeners to break into that really helped this song explode. Or should we say, two dances:
“The Whip and the Nae Nae were two different dances. I just got tired of seeing people do them so I started doing my own rendition where I was doing them both!” Silento says.
“Now watch me Whip / Now watchme Nae Nae“, the song goes. Well, thousands of listeners decided to follow those instructions and take to Vine and YouTube to show off their dance skills to the soundtrack of “Watch Me”, resulting in nearly 21 million views and a total of 35 million minutes watched. Silento and his producer, Bolo Da Producer, are working with TuneCore to collect all their eligible revenue from multiple channels. That means getting 100% of iTunes download revenue and money from the sound recordings on YouTube when ads have been placed on videos using their music. Adding to the revenue stream are the worldwide songwriter royalties TuneCore Music Publishing Administration will find and collect for them from 60 countries.
Everyone from toddlers and parents to costumed individuals and street dance crews has contributed a rendition of the dance-craze, and it’s tough not to crack a smile while watching them!
Much like dance sensations such as the ‘Harlem Shake‘ and the ‘Dougie‘, “Watch Me” began as a regional phenomenon. Silento achieved some local support with his song before he even recorded it. He tells us, “I had been singing it and dancing to it in school already. People were always asking me to do it, they already knew it.” So when the song began to go viral, it was no surprise to the young artist: “When people are asking you do something repeatedly, it’s like, you just know. People liked it, so I kept doing my dances!”
In 2015, this kind of attention can make you an instant star – especially among a younger, plugged-in demographic. When asked how the success of “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” has affected him as a high school kid, he modestly answered, “It hasn’t, really. I’m still the same – I’m still me, you know? I guess now some people, they look at me like, “You’re famous.” But you know, it hasn’t really changed me at all.”
Of all the thousands of Vines and YouTube videos using his song, Silento says that some of his favorites were those that incorporated children and their parents dancing. One awesome element of viral hits like “Watch Me” is that they sometimes get picked up and used in videos by celebrities and athletes. When we asked him who he’d love to see whipping it/doing the Nae Nae, Silento gave us an answer many artists would support: “Obama!”
When discussing the future, he sounds optimistic and confident, and why shouldn’t he? In terms of riding this momentum and where he sees himself in 5 years, Silento says, “I already am, you know? I got remixes, a dance album [to come] – I’m already doing it. I see myself on a stage…and definitely bigger [as an artist] than I am right now!”
TuneCore is excited to be apart of Silento’s and Bolo Da Producer’s musical journey – collecting their download/streaming sales, worldwide songwriter royalties, and YouTube Sound Recording revenue as they ride the wave of this fun, viral dance craze. We’re getting the feeling that 2015 will be the year of “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)“!