Are you ready to see how a meme becomes a quiet cultural phenomenon? For one thing, the titular shark dance is appealingly simple, something even the youngest toddler and surliest adult can do. The video currently stands at nearly 2. Bright, moving colors; cute little kids; catchy, repetitive lyrics. I would bet anything, though, that a lot of the views are repeat views from the same users. At least if you discount the ecological havoc caused by allowing cute kids to ruthlessly invade the territory of these poor animated sharks, possibly putting everyone involved in danger.
Another version that dates to at least online includes the subject dying at the end. On January 15, , from the comfort of an armchair, she gave the world this viral video:. But her video sparked a viral craze that ultimately spawned an official release of the song 15 months later, in May , as well as, according to one German media outlet, around spinoff videos of classrooms and other groups performing the accompanying dance.
And as you can see from the following version, the song and the dance have always pretty much existed as a pair — which makes sense, since a lot of the fun of Baby Shark lies in switching back and forth between little shark gestures and big shark gestures:. Meanwhile, that same repetition makes them easy and cheap to produce , while still providing appeal and visual stimulation. Overseen by a Korean education and entertainment company, Pinkfong has more than 14 million subscribers and has garnered more than 7 billion views across all of its videos.
In the intervening years, Pinkfong itself has churned out a litany of Baby Shark offshoots; but its legs as a meme really come from what the rest of the internet has done with the song, with a push into the mainstream as an unexpected viral pop sensation.
It spawned an Indonesian dance craze that saw families and communities around the country doing versions of the dance. And in , the BabySharkChallenge became a huge meme across TikTok as the app burgeoned in popularity, with a popular remixed version of the song going viral. So the Baby Shark song is clearly here to stay, having firmly established itself in many corners of the culture, online and off, in all its incessant repetitive glory.
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