Before Gangnam Style blew up YouTube in 2013 it was just another quirky video with (apparently) limited commercial appeal. Since then YouTube watchers have been waiting for the next unexpected hit, and many think the song know simply as PPAP may be it.
PAPP (which stands for “pen, pineapple, apple, pen,” believe it or not) is the invention of Japanese comedian Piko Taro and DJ Kosaka and has quickly shot up to over 40 million views.
The song has been helped along by a tweet from Justin Beiber saying it was now his favourite video on the internet, but the fact that there are already hundreds of lip-synched tribute videos, mostly from Asia, shows the underlying popularity of the track.
My favorite video on the internet 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/oJOqMMyNvw
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) 27 September 2016
Unlike Gangnam Style, PPAP is much shorter than the average pop song at just 51 seconds, and this will undoubtedly make an appearance on the global music charts a bigger challenge. But Piko Taro’s ability to prance about in leopard-skin clothing may win enough fans that it may not matter. A few billion YouTube views and world-wide fame are much more valuable than track downloads these days.
PPAP is at that critical phase between becoming a certifiable underground hit, to becoming part of the wider zeitgeist. It’s a long, far-from-certain journey, but stranger things have happened. Just ask Psy.