The “Harlem Shake” hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts Wednesday after the magazine added YouTube views to its methodology of ranking the top 100 songs in the US.
With more people accessing their music in digital formats, Billboard‘s addition of YouTube views is just one way the magazine is trying to remain relevant and stay abreast of new trends in the music industry. In October, Billboard started using Nielsen SoundScan’s digital-download sales numbers and streaming data to its chart rankings.
“Billboard is now incorporating all official videos on YouTube captured by Nielsen’s streaming measurement, including Vevo on YouTube, and user-generated clips that utilize authorized audio into the Hot 100 and the Hot 100 formula-based genre charts – Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, R&B Songs, Rap Songs, Hot Latin Songs, Hot Rock Songs and Dance/Electronic Songs – to further reflect the divergent platforms for music consumption in today’s world.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the new “Harlem Shake,” all you need to know is that the 30-second clip begins with one person — usually wearing a helmet — dancing alone in a normal setting such as a dorm room or underwater. Other people are typically going about their business nearby, as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Then, the beat drops and everyone begins flailing about before the clip ends to one last “Con los terroristas!”
If you thought the “Harlem Shake” was a dance that originated, as the name suggests, in Harlem in the early ’80s, you would be correct. The new “Harlem Shake” that has taken over the Internet started as a song by DJ and producer Baauer, who released the song as a free download on May 22, 2012. The video went generally unnoticed until early February 2013, when a YouTube video set to its music developed into a meme that has been perpetrated by everyone from the staffs of BuzzFeed and CollegeHumor to the American military.
Of course, not everyone is happy about Billboard‘s decision to start counting YouTube videos, thus taking away chart ranks from more traditional, mainstream music. Singer Josh Groban tweeted “Smh” after learning about Billboard‘s decision. Baauer responded by retweeting Groban’s post.
What do you think of “Harlem Shake” reaching No. 1 on the Hot 100? Should Billboard be taking YouTube views into consideration for its rankings?