Another viral dance challenge has sparked a placement on the Billboard Hot 100, as Pinkfong’s “Baby Shark” debuts at No. 32 on the list dated Jan. 12.
Some background for the uninitiated: “Baby Shark,” whose origins date back decades, is a participatory children’s song/nursery rhyme in which singers act out each verse with their hands and arms, from the eponymous youngest member of a family to the parents and grandparents.
In 2016, Pinkfong, a South Korea-based educational brand, created its version of the song and a subsequent video that has been the basis for the track’s meme status. The so-called Baby Shark Challenge finds participants dancing along to the song and mimicking its commands when applicable, with social media services and the app TikTok among the hotbeds of activity for the challenge.
Initially going viral in Indonesia, “Baby Shark” spread globally before entering U.S. waters, beginning with its debut on the Kid Digital Song Sales chart in July 2018. It made its first appearance on the Streaming Songs chart in November.
Now, thanks to the song’s continued streaming growth as well as the freefall of 23 seasonal titles off the Hot 100 this week post-holidays, “Baby Shark” bows at No. 32. (Given its original 2016 release date, the song needed to accumulate enough chart points to appear in the Hot 100’s top 50 before it was eligible to chart, per chart rules regarding older songs.)
In the latest streaming tracking week, ending Jan. 3, “Baby Shark” earned 20.8 million streams, according to Nielsen Music, good for a new No. 16 peak on Streaming Songs. Of that sum, video views continue to be a major driver of the song’s success: 73 percent. While the data that feeds Streaming Songs is U.S.-based, thanks to the track’s worldwide popularity, “Baby Shark” has attracted 2.1 billion global views on YouTube to date, ranking it among the 30 most-viewed videos in the platform’s history.
While streaming is the main catalyst for the song’s Hot 100 entrance, “Baby Shark” also moved 3,000 digital downloads in the tracking week. It places at No. 2 on Kid Digital Song Sales, which it led for 11 weeks, beginning in September.
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