Riding the YouTube Wave
When you think of YouTube and billions of views, it’s often chart-toppers like Ed Sheeran or Justin Bieber that come to mind. But nestled among them is the delightful earworm from Pinkfong, “Baby Shark Dance”, boasting an impressive 4.6 billion views. Pinkfong’s fascinating journey with this song, with over 100 variations, ranges from their original version released in 2015 to more quirky adaptations like their Halloween version. The latter amusingly keeps the tune but with a spooky twist, garnering millions of views even without translation.
From A Simple Song to A Global Phenomenon
This catchy melody didn’t just stop at YouTube. After clinching the #32 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019, SmartStudy (Pinkfong’s parent company) expanded its horizons. From merchandising dreams like clothing, toys, and even a Kellogg’s cereal, to a Nickelodeon show – they capitalized on it all. And while it’s challenging to pin down the exact revenue from YouTube, conservative estimates hint at a whopping $7 to $14 million from ads on the main video alone.
Rapid Growth and Expansion
It wasn’t just about one viral video. Pinkfong’s overall content strategy and the meteoric rise of “Baby Shark” saw their subscribers and view counts skyrocket. From 80 million views and 71,000 new subscribers in March 2017, they shot up to almost half a billion views with a million new subscribers every month after the global sensation.
The Financial Ripple Effect
The Baby Shark wave has significantly impacted SmartStudy’s finances. From a revenue of $8.5 million in 2015, post the song’s popularity, the figures jumped year after year, touching an estimated $45+ million in 2019. Additionally, the stock prices of both SmartStudy and its parent company, Samsung Publishing, saw considerable hikes. This catapulted the net worth of the Kim family, the brains behind these enterprises, to a staggering figure exceeding $100M in stock shares alone.
The Twists and Turns of Its Origin
But here’s where the tale takes a turn: The foundational song isn’t originally theirs. The song’s roots are shrouded in mystery, with claims of it being in the public domain from the early 1900s. However, evidence to support this theory is sparse. Some argue that if the original creator steps forward, they might have a legal case.
Exploring the song’s origins, there are mentions of a 1967 French ballad “Bébé Requin,” and the German “Kleiner Hai”. Yet, none bear a direct resemblance to the global sensation we recognize today. The earliest English hint appears to be connected to the movie ‘Jaws’ in 1975, with a children’s rendition emerging in a 1981 music book. This song, eerily similar to “Baby Shark”, was aptly titled “Jaws”.
The Evolving Versions Over Time
The more playful and less menacing adaptation that’s globally loved today seems to have evolved. A children’s entertainer, Johnny Only, presented a version on YouTube in 2011. This version had striking similarities to Pinkfong’s subsequent versions. While Only’s video garnered modest views, Pinkfong’s rendition, with its colorful animations, became a staple in many households.
Hard Work Behind the ‘Overnight Success’
As you hum “Baby Shark” on your way to work, remember that Pinkfong’s journey wasn’t about one viral video. It’s about years of creating content, refining their skills, and understanding their audience. The overnight success story of “Baby Shark” is a testament to the consistent effort, strategic marketing, and the ability to leverage a global sensation.