Viral Videos and Publicity

Baauer. Have you heard of Baauer?

Baauer Source:


If you answered no, let me try again. Have you heard of “The Harlem Shake”? That answer surely has to be yes, or this is your first day on the Internet. If it is your first day, welcome. If its not, then welcome back. Anyways, on the surface level, it appears that Baauer, a New York based music producer, blew up when videos of fans dancing to his track “Harlem Shake” went viral. The videos went viral, yes, but not organically.

To make things simple, a YouTube channel uploaded the first Harlem Shake video on Jan 30th. This wasn’t the 30 second version that you became used to. Anyways, their dance caught traction, and five replica videos were produced over the next week. Then things changed.

Maker, a website that “specializes in making money from YouTube” (Ashton) noticed the video on Reddit. They seized the opportunity. They filmed their “office version” of the Harlem Shake, and the video took off.

To cut to the chase, Baauer’s song “Harlem Shake” ended up in the number one spot on the Billboard hot 100. That is all due The Harlem Shake video going viral. Maker, made their Harlem Shake video because they knew they could get money from ad revenue. Most anyone can get ad revenue from YouTube if their video captures enough views.

The Harlem Shake going viral was not by accident. Baauer blew up across the Internet during February 2013.

Baauer's search index via Google

In the past year, Baauer has continued to make a name for himself.  He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the electronic music scene. He became a household name because a 30 second dance video featuring his song went viral. The publicity Baauer gained from the video is what launched his career. He may not have been in the music spotlight prior to the Harlem Shake video, but due to his name now being a recognizable one, his name is usually featured in headlines, because its recognizable. Why is name recognizable? Because of the Harlem Shake.

That is the power one viral video can have on a music career. The publicity from viral video can launch your career into the stratosphere. Whether the video’s virality is due to a professional company, or due to organic growth, one video can change a musician’s career. See: Gangnam Style. I heard that Psy made eight million off of YouTube ads ALONE. That doesn’t include record sales, merchandise sales, and performance fees. One song, one video, and he’s an international star and multimillionaire. That is the power of proper publicity.

Did Baauer plan out this Harlem Shake video craze? No. Did he benefit from it? Absolutely. So did the label he is signed to, Diplo’s Mad Decent. That also means Diplo benefitted. The other artists signed to Mad Decent benefit. It is a trickle-down effect with this. Publicity can make or break your career. In this case, all the publicity Baauer garnered from the Harlem Shake video craze definitely made his career.

For further information on this, check out’s article on how the video went viral.


One thought on “Viral Videos and Publicity

  1. I have made a Harlem Shake video before…guilty. But it didn’t get the hype that Baauer’s video got unfortunately. All the research that you did on this topic was very interesting because I had no idea that it reached number 1 at the Billboard 100. It is so crazy how just from making a silly 30 second video can instantly make you famous just because of the access that our society has to social media now. Youtube has created so many opportunities for so many people including Baauer and stories like his make me think why not just put yourself out there because you never know what random thing people will start to like and share.

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