It’s the new “Blurred Lines,” but the role of Emily Ratajkowski is played by Zuleya Rivera, and she keeps her clothes on!
But that does not mean you can take your eyes off her.
What am I talking about?
Yesterday’s number one track on Spotify’s Global Top 50. Only this version features Justin Bieber playing the role of Daddy Yankee on the original, but the track was a monster before Biebs got involved.
How did this happen?
Broadband. We forget that the internet fostered Napster, which started first on college campuses, because of students’ high speed connections, and then when broadband invaded homes we got YouTube, which now even streams in 4k, if you’ve got a 5k iMac you can see the difference, assuming you’ve got something close to the 200 mbps in my household. Technology begets unforeseen benefits. And we’re never going backwards, so we might as well go forwards! We need investment, we need foreign minds. And now we’ve got this foreign hit, well, Luis Fonsi was born in the now financially-challenged Puerto Rico, but he was brought up in Orlando, I learned that in the “Bloomberg Businessweek” article and if you’re a student of business, you need to subscribe, hell, the app is free on your phone, Bloomberg is the gold standard in business features, the “New York Times” is the best for breaking news, and the WSJ has forfeited its place at the pinnacle, turning itself into a general interest paper for right wingers when what I want is stories on corporations and trends and, like I just said, you now get that with “Bloomberg Businessweek.”
I was just perusing last week’s issue, arguing for inclusion in the Paris climate accord, trumpeting the success of John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s pizza, and containing a lengthy expurgation on the success of “Despacito.”
I missed it. Until yesterday. When trying to stay current I played the Spotify US Top Fifty and immediately got it. That’s the culture we live in, the one of the one listen smash, no one’s got time for more.
And I get this remix’s success, it’s got Bieber, his audience is gonna seek out everything he does, which means if you’re not a Belieber you may be clueless, but that’s the world we now live in, where there’s so much information, so many niches, that we’ve got huge blind spots, even in our wheelhouses.
And I get it, the combo of catchiness and Biebs gives you a hit. To the tune of nearly seven million streams on Spotify PER DAY! And a cume of 350 odd million.
BUT IT WAS A HIT BEFORE ALL THIS!
Released on January 13th of this year, the YouTube clip, sans Bieber, got 5 million views in 24 hours and as of this writing has 1,815,356,185 views. THAT’S NEARLY TWO BILLION! Which puts it at number 17 on the all time chart. But when you add in the additional 275,525,473 views of the Bieber remix, that puts it at number 8 all time, AHEAD OF TAYLOR SWIFT’S BLANK SPACE!
So I decided to pull it up, the original iteration, the one with 1.8 billion views.
First I was stunned by the quality. In the heyday of MTV we did not get HD, and my computer monitor is larger than my TV of the eighties. And driving all those pixels was…
My broadband connection.
The mood is set, there’s beautiful blue water and a gorgeous landscape and island life and a smiling Fonsi and then…
She appears. For only a brief moment.
Then there’s a stunning helicopter shot of the village.
And then the song hits its stride and the former Miss Universe starts to walk and YOU GET IT IMMEDIATELY!
But that’s not all. There’s the dancing, the energy, the clip contains all the elements of the less salacious rap videos of yore, but with a lot more fun and a track not dominated by beats. And you wonder, is this a one-off, or are we at the beginning of a trend, is America ready to embrace Latin culture, don’t laugh, all those rednecks are rap fans now…
This is not a novelty like the “Macarena,” and in a world where you cannot get ahead economically the lifestyle depicted in the clips looks so APPEALING!
Credit the record company for spending to get the clip right, we are truly in a new era of video, where the only gatekeeper is the audience, you just put it up on YouTube and…
You still hit a headwind. Bieber didn’t hear the track until April, when he decided he wanted to appear on it. But still, it’s only #9 on the Mediabase Top 40 and #9 on Rhythmic and #31 on Hot AC. Proving, once again, that streaming is far ahead of radio and you know what happens when a format falls behind, it has its lunch eaten.
But still, this is a hit record, just like “Dominique,” sung in French, back in 1963, only now the world is both smaller and bigger. We live in a global village, but we’re inundated with music. But Latinos have risen in status and even if there’s not another crossover hit imminently, “Despacito” shows you’ve got to pay attention.
Listen to the Bieber version, which is almost entirely in Spanish, here:
I dare you not to get it. And if you don’t, that probably means you’re out of touch with today’s music business, which focuses on hooks and immediacy and skews pop.
And be sure to read the “Bloomberg Businessweek” article:
And be sure to know, “Despacito” is the biggest hit in the world RIGHT NOW!