The Washington Post

Kanye West’s 2005 song ‘Gone’ gets chart boost from viral video

“I’m ahead of my time, sometimes years out…” Kanye West raps on his 2005 single “Gone.”

But before you chalk the line up to the rapper’s well-documented ego, consider this: the song debuted at #18 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart this week, eight years after it was first released.

The accolade comes a couple weeks after Marina Shifrin quit her job via a YouTube video, in which she performs a self-styled “interpretive dance,” set to the track, which also features rappers Cam’ron and Consequence. The video has collected more than 15 million views and inspired parodies, including one from Shifrin’s former employer, Next Media Animation.

Billboard reported Wednesday that sales for the song skyrocketed after the video went viral and its heightened presence on YouTube sent it to the #4 slot on the U.S. streaming chart. The song is currently #6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

“Gone” isn’t the first song to see such a boost. In the age of viral pop culture phenomenons, many other artists have seen their back catalogues propelled up the contemporary charts. In February, Baaur’s 2012 dance track “Harlem Shake” landed in the chart’s top spot after it was featured in countless YouTube videos playing on a meme of the same name.

In 2011, Fox’s “Glee” surpassed Elvis as the act with the most Hot 100 hits, thanks to widely downloaded cast renditions of popular songs like Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.”

And with its well-curated soundtrack HBO’s “Girls,” has also been known to influence music sales. Robyn’s 2010 single “Dancing on my Own” saw renewed success after it was featured prominently in the show’s first season and at the Golden Globes, where “Girls” won two awards.

The show’s second season also lent chart cred to Icona Pop’s catchy hit, “I Love It” and helped increase sales for Oasis’s 1995 single “Wonderwall.”

As television soundtracks grow more robust and Internet memes incorporate songs we forgot we loved, the platforms that catapult an older song up the pop charts are seemingly endless.


Kanye West, Jimmy Kimmel hash out feud in riveting late-night interview

Viral video’s dancing start weighs post-NMA job offers – and still awaits that Kanye call

Bethonie Butler is a producer and a reporter on The Post’s engagement team. She oversees online comments and has also contributed to The Style Blog and She The People.



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