British band Years & Years swiftly set up a TikTok account at the end of last week – in a large part because their cover of 2003’s ‘Breathe’ (by Sean Paul ft. Blu Cantrell) from six years ago was having a viral impact on the app without any push from them.
They were able to capitalise on that to the point where the song had become the sixth most reactive song on Spotify UK at the beginning of last week. YMU, the band’s management company, began digging around to figure out what was behind this viral uplift and what they could do to capitalise on it, tracking down the original post from a TikTok user.
They then traced how the phrase “What’s that supposed to be about, baby?” from the song quickly became a catchphrase among users of the app to the point where the original sample has been used in over 1.2m videos. They saw a spike in Shazams of the song and Olly Alexander (lead singer of Years & Years) recorded his own video using the clip.
Since Friday, the band’s TikTok account has gathered 11k followers and the video has over 392k views. It is an interesting example of an act spotting a trend and quickly reacting to it, driving not just more plays of the clip across assorted videos but also helping push streams off-platform (most obviously on Spotify and Shazam).