I chose the video the Evolution of Music by the Pentatonix acapella group to analyze. I think the video went viral because it appealed to everyone’s appreciation of music in a new and interesting way. Especially using only well known music everyone heard most of the songs. It may be considered viral because it reached a large number of people and was shared on numerous platforms (Nahon and Hemsley 16). In terms of the reach by numbers 71 million is enough to classify it as viral. Reach by networks on the other hand is difficult to quantify. Facebook, youtube, Vine, Twitter, and Instagram have all had the video shared on it so if the big five is all that is necessary for reach by networks it certainly qualifies as viral in that respect as well.
This video may have spread as quickly as it did because there was already a fan base for the group because they had already won a singing competition on NBC but the group didn’t have such large appeal until it covered almost every type of music and appealed to almost everyone’s taste in music. Based on their popularity in general it could be thought that the group went viral because of a top down format but I argue that this would be a bottom up form of virality because no one with a large audience brought this specific video to the public and caused the video to gain popularity (Nahon and Hemsley 42).
“Word of mouth” marketing caused this video to go viral. I think the appeal of an illustration of the change in music made this video so popular for people. Hearing classic song as well as classical songs in a progression of popular music is interesting. Humans like to know where we’ve been and where we’re going to get a sense of who we are and I think this video allows people to see that.
The general trend of musical competitions in the 21st century may be another reason why this video went viral and why the Pentatonix are so popular. It may not be what was happening at the time that made the video such a shared topic but just another example of a growing interest in alternative forms of music.
One implication of this video going viral is that it shows even if a contestant wins a contest he/she may still have trouble making money despite being a household name. Pentatonix has an advantage in that the type of music it produces is unique but its still limited by copyright laws because most of their songs are covers. Although the group is a produser in a sense they are still professionals because they won a competition and received a record deal so they are another example of the line blurring between professional and amateur. They are also a perfect example of the “creation” aspect of social media, part of their identity is intertwined with what they create.