Can we talk about those lads in tight trousers?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past week, you’ll have no doubt encountered the ubiquitous tones of Sea Shanty. Inescapably catchy, this viral moment has infiltrated radio shows, TV shows and what seems like every other area of our life of late, with at least one member of every household able to rattle off the first two lines of the chorus. The power of the viral meme shows its face once again.
It began with these four lads taking an innocent, unknowing picture before heading off for a night out and soon after, shooting to online fame. In a stroke of internet genius, the picture was edited to show the lads miming a remix of a particular, utterly bizarre Sea Shanty, called ‘Wellerman’. Their journey from All Bar One in Birmingham to viral internet sensation to ‘virtually’ sitting on the This Morning Britain sofa with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid can tell us a lot about the power of social media and it’s firm grip on society.
And it doesn’t stop there. Involved in this viral whirlwind is the voice behind the Sea Shanty remix, Scottish postie Nathan Evans. In a true example of the power of viral trends, the postie has unbelievably quit his Royal Mail job and signed to Polydor, one of the biggest record labels in the world. In the space of just a few weeks, Nathan’s centuries-old sailor songs known as sea shanties have been doing the rounds and picking up duets on TikTok. The favourite rendition of ‘Wellerman’ dubbed ‘ShantyTok’, has triggered a global trend and garnered millions of views. Even Gary Barlow, Ronan Keating and Andrew Lloyd Webber have put their two pennies’ worth in and dueted.
The ‘Wellerman’ cover has been released as an official single and is predicted to rank Number Four in the Official UK Singles Chart. Another viral internet sensation among many who have unwittingly found their 5 minutes of music career fame.
We couldn’t discuss viral music moments without mentioning the fortunes of Alex Mann, otherwise known as Alex from Glasto here. A video of him being picked out of the crowd to go onstage with rapper Dave to perform the song ‘Thiago Silva’ at Glastonbury 2019 had everybody talking as he arguably stole the show. He performed the song word for word and had the whole crowd chanting his name, aged just 16. This naturally threw him into the spotlight and made him a flashpoint of online interest, also landing him a record deal.
So what can we learn from this?
These examples illustrate quite how powerful social media can be. Not just as a tool to scroll aimlessly watching funny videos of goats or to gauge an insight into our favourite celebrities lives, but as a social and cultural barometer. It leads to countless conservations between friends, families and colleagues. People look to social media to tell them what is current and moments like these make us appreciate the power and scale of the beast.
If you want to rethink your social media strategy and delve in to viral marketing, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.