Top 3 Artists Who Went Viral | Features | MN2S

The internet has transformed the life of an artist. Some have experienced its power more than others. Here are three artists who went viral online in a very 21st century form of success.

1. Silento

Silento was still in high school when his song ‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)’ became an online sensation. The track’s simple, instructional lyrics were instantly repeatable, but it was Silento’s dance moves in its accompanying video that truly helped the track go viral.

Just as Silento had instructed listeners to watch him as he performed the Whip, Nae Nae, Superman, Stanky Leg and Bop dance moves, many fans around the world began to do these moves themselves and upload their own videos to YouTube. The dance became a worldwide trend almost overnight in a way only the internet can facilitate.

Silento’s dance moves were acclaimed not just by casual music fans, but by serious experts; he was presented with a Soul Train Music Award for Best Dance Performance in 2015 for his trendsetting work.

Silento has toured the world and graduated from high school since ‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)’ made him famous. He has also been back in the studio completing his debut album. Ever the perfectionist, he is making his fans wait for what he has in store. When it’s ready, we’ll just have to watch him.

2. Rick Astley

If you were a music fan in the 80s, Rick Astley is the charming, debonair hitmaker behind the Platinum-certified albums Whenever You Need Somebody and Hold Me in Your Arms, and with chart-topping tracks including ‘Together Forever’, ‘When I Fall in Love’ and ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

If you were an internet user post-2007, Rick Astley is the star of the popular online meme known as ‘rickrolling’. The meme simply consisted of directing fellow internet users ostensibly to one video but actually sending them to Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ video. See this video for more information on memes. Click the link? You just got rickrolled. The widespread popularity of this prank, combined with the song’s enduring popularity, has led ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ to reach a quarter of a billion views on YouTube. (A quarter of a billion and one if you clicked that link.)

Rick himself has always been known for his sense of humour, so it is not surprising that he embraced his viral fame, rickrolling the crowd live at the Macy’s 2008 Thanksgiving Day Parade. Like Silento, Astley took his time planning his post-viral fame musical release, but the wait was worth it.

Released this year, Rick Astley’s brand new album 50 went straight to the top of the UK Album Chart, beating younger artists like Drake and Tom Odell, and fellow veterans like Paul McCartney, all of whom had new albums out the very same week. Truly, Astely’s fans are never gonna give him up.

3. Psy

For many of us in the West, Psy burst on the scene with the bombastic ‘Gangnam Style’ in 2012. Its over-the-top video quickly began to dominate the online discourse, and soon “Have you seen ‘Gangnam Style’?” became a common question, but one that could only be answered “Yes,” often followed by “What actually is going on in that video?”

Anyone from Psy’s native South Korea, however, will have already been familiar with the singer. ‘Gangnam Style’ was the lead single from his sixth studio album. So what was it about this track that brought Psy to worldwide viral attention?

A case study (not a rickroll!) into the song’s success found that the perfect conditions for a viral hit were created by Psy’s record label, YG, and that ‘Gangnam Style’s simply catchy tune, danceable production and bright, attention-grabbing video guaranteed its online success.

Psy immediately became the biggest K-Pop crossover act of all time, introducing many Westerners to the genre, and the ‘Gangnam Style’ video became the most watched YouTube video of all time, now with over 2.5 billion views. Much like Silento, Psy inspired millions to try out his dance moves, including, recently, politician-turned-celebrity Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing.

Book Silento and Rick Astley today to bring these viral legends to your venue. MN2S does not currently represent Psy.

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