How Drake Broke the Internet

Forget Kim. With the last remaining spoofs of his “Hotline Bling” video only just clearing out from my timeline, Drake, over the last month, has given us the ultimate example of how you can exploit the virality of social media for free exposure.

We saw them all. We saw Drake playing Wii tennis, we saw Drake throwing pepperoni on a pizza, we saw Drake wielding a lightsaber repelling stormtroopers. And all the while, we were humming along. When we look at how the production of the video, it becomes apparent why. Drakes most…shareable dancing comes directly over the hook. Therefore the seven second clips that everyone was sharing were of the catchiest part of the song. Time and time again, when browsing through social media, we would hear the hook, over and over. Soon there was little else I was listening to, whether cycling to class or out with friends.

The tactic clearly worked. The tennis vine above has looped over 21 million times at current writing, and was just one of a number of spoofs and memes that drove downloads of the song up 29% in the week following the video’s release. Drake’s video was so successful, even Donald Trump tried to get in on the action. Drake was only kept off the top of the Billboard 100 by the fact that the video was released initially exclusively through Apple Music, which doesn’t report its video stream numbers of Nielson Sound Scan, Billboards source for their charts.

Still, I’m sure Drake didn’t mind the additional revenue that the spoofs of his dancing brought in, especially as he didn’t pay a penny for them. Drake’s video was, in many regards, a masterclass in viral marketing by his team.