As of 2013, it's official: The wacky, amateurish, off-kilter sensibilities that characterized much of the early web have been reverse engineered, and now constitute part of mainstream culture.
Examples of this are everywhere, and they started appearing before 2013. But this is the year that Psy made millions on YouTube with "Gangnam Style," and Miley Cyrus made everybody lose their mind with an intentional twerk scandal. More importantly, 2013 gave us arguably the most engineered-to-be-viral song ever created.
We are referring, of course, to "What Does The Fox Say." Music fans have spoken with our clicks -- and what we've said is that we want precisely this:
"What Does The Fox Say" represents a new pinnacle of virality as music format. There's no tour, there's no record, there's no band rehearsing in a garage -- there's just a Norwegian comedy duo called Ylvis with a perfect understanding of what makes a music hit these days, and their slick, "omigod I have to share this even before I've seen the whole thing" music video.
If you still think "What Does The Fox Say" is fringe-y, outsider-y, and quirky, consider that the song's PR agency (yes, it has one) emailed to let us know the following:
Just in time for the holidays, Simon & Shuster will publish a "beautifully illustrated children's book" on December 10 called, "What Does The Fox Say?" to be accompanied by a U.S. television promotional tour. That should be easy to set up, because Ylvis has already appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, and Saturday Night Live.
The lesson here, for musicians and those around them: Viral videos, especially if they feel somewhat unintentional, are the new road to fame and riches. Unlike the earlier, more innocent days that saw true outsiders like Tay Zonday of "Chocolate Rain" fame hit the big time, the new viral videos are decidedly part of the mainstream. Just ask Kim, Kanye, James, and Seth.
Follow Eliot Van Buskirk on Twitter: www.twitter.com/evolverfm