TikTok has proven its success at renewing widespread interest around old songs countless times over the past several years. 2022 was no exception, as the short-form video platform announced Swedish Sadboy rapper Yung Lean’s 2013 track “Ginseng Strip 2002” was its most popular track of the year thanks to a trend of users singing along for about 10 seconds and then kissing at the end.
The nearly decade-old track was used in almost 11 million videos across the app in 2022, and while TikTok royalties are notoriously low to music rights holders, the upside proposition has been established that a viral hit there will drive streaming elsewhere. With “Ginseng Strip 2002,” that was most certainly true.
Since the “Ginseng Strip 2002” TikTok trend started to take off around the turn of the new year, its impact is relatively easy to compare year-over-year. And it’s considerable. As of Dec. 1, the track had been streamed more than 71 million times on-demand in 2022 in the U.S. That’s a 780% increase from the full year prior, and up over 1,070% when compared to the same 48-week period (Jan. 1-Dec. 1). To date, the track has over 206 million global streams on Spotify.
The viral success has undoubtedly been a pleasant surprise payday for Lean as well as his label, Swedish indie YEAR0001, and publisher Sony Publishing. Based off U.S. streams alone, the different rights holders have earned about $350,000 so far in 2022. Split up, that’s about $260,000 for the master recording to the label and artist, and $62,900 to the publisher and co-writers Yung Lean and Yung Gud, based on Billboard‘s estimates.
This is actually the second time “Ginseng Strip 2002” has gone viral. The casually hedonistic track that came together by accident during a microphone sound check, according to producer Yung Gud, first took off on YouTube in 2013. That quick success on YouTube caused Yung Lean some anxiety, as he told Beats 1 Radio in 2017. “I was kinda scared at one point that it was just gonna be a couple million views and some viral hit, and there wasn’t going to be anything else,” he said. “I was just trying to figure out my place and everything. I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder.”
“Yung Lean doesn’t have a TikTok profile and we weren’t prepared for this viral moment at all,” YEAR0001 told Billboard in a statement. “We will continue making records as before, music first, financials second.”
UPDATE: This article was updated Dec. 8 at 2 a.m. EST to include YEAR0001’s statement.