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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The New Alphabet Song: Viral Smash for Big Success

Hi!

I'm still trying to piece together how THIS happened... A very stupid and short a cappella song that I posted to YouTube in 2009 has suddenly gone mad "viral." The "New Alphabet Song" currently has 1.1 million views and counting, and it's led me to increasing my subscriber count from 69 to over 2,000. Seemingly most of these hits are from India and other locations around the world (only about 13% are from the U.S.A.).

What is this video? This video is just me singing the alphabet to a completely different (original!) melody with some well-placed hand claps toward the end, mind you. It's dumb as hell. Though, as dumb as this is, I was always quite fond of it and I guess given its title it was bound to attract SOME stray key word, algorithmic attraction. It, in fact, had accumulated some modest hits (as far as my shit goes) over the years. I wanna say a few thousand views tops before this year.

Nothing like what's happened in the last month but especially the last week...

And nearly all of this action is from people finding it within YouTube (~99%)... And sure enough when you search "new alphabet song," it's currently the third result.

I can only assume this has something to do with another 'new alphabet song'––one that went legit cross-media viral in late 2019 (see coverage at NPR, HuffPo, the NY Times and on Ellen). And while that didn't go viral until last year, its origins seem to be this 2012 upload (7+ million hits and counting). It's billed as "ABC Song (Soft Lullaby) - For Learning English as a Foreign Language" and it's basically the audio version of an uncanney valley. Check it out...

So now, a year after the viral success of that, comes this massive influx my way. I am only assuming the two are related and it's just some weird bug-out happening with the YT algo that's conflating them. There are only 30 comments and most of them are in foreign languages if not straight-up jibberish, almost bot-like...

I'm not sure... It's weird!

This whole thing is weird. I didn't even know it was happening until I saw an email from Google late last night that my account was now elligible for monetization because I had eclipsed 1K subscribers. OK, sure, why not, I thought. So I 'applied' for monetization and was promptly rejected. Life is full of these tiny indignities, or at least it feels that way. This was the message I had recieved less than 12 hours later...



I don't really give a shit either way if I can make pennies off of this stupid video, but the vague "REUSED CONTENT" tag (with no other details as to which videos are the 'bad' ones––thanks for the feedback!) is a hilarious end to this story. It's hilarious that someone had to examine my channel in this way. I have 1,000s of uploads on that channel and many of them do appropriate video from other sources.

For a hot second, I was uploading short clips of Jeopardy! (RIP, Alex) and I'm thinking maybe those were the ones getting flagged, so I deleted them, only to see that I have to wait a month to reapply... L to the damn O to the effing L. I would be shocked if my 15 minutes in strange, foreign YouTube virality aren't up by then. And that's life. That's how life goes. I continue forward, in and against the slog.

Thanks for reading this post.