#SELFIE song goes viral

#SELFIE song goes viral

Drew Taggard, left, and Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers have a viral dance hit with '#SELFIE.'(Photo: Spreadhouse)

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by Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY

USA TODAY

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 10:29 AM

The Chainsmokers' #SELFIE was viral from its inception.

The thumping club track from the New York DJ duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, in which a self-absorbed clubgoer makes catty comments about other women and obsesses about which Instagram filter will make her look more tan, is one of the most shared songs on Spotify. The video (17 million plays) gets a million and a half YouTube views per day.

Like the smartphone-created photo of the song's title, it's made to share.

"The video inherently had this viral concept built into it, which certainly helped get it off the ground," says Pall, 28, who began working with Taggart, 24, in 2012.

#SELFIE, which features uncredited spoken vocals by Alexis Killacam, has become one of the fastest-climbing tracks on the sales charts, with 180,000 downloads since the song's release Jan. 28, according to Nielsen SoundScan. On Sunday, versions of #SELFIE were at No. 4 and No. 34 on Spotify's Viral 50 chart. In a seven-day period ending March 13, the band added social-media fans at double the rate of the previous week, says analytics company Musicmetric.

"If you look in the comments sections, people at-tag other people because they're expressing themselves," says Oliver Luckett, CEO of theAudience,​ a social-networking company that has shepherded the song's rise to Internet meme. "They're saying, 'I know that girl.' There's a little bit of selfie in all of us. Whether you're a guy or a girl, everybody relates to that emotion of vanity and making fun of it."

After hearing an early demo, Luckett put The Chainsmokers in touch with EDM producer/musician Steve Aoki, who released the track on his Dim Mak Records label. Then theAudience helped the duo create a video that featured selfies from celebrities such as Aoki, David Hasselhoff and Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder. Just as key, the video also included teen social-media stars like Acacia Brinley, who has 1.2 million Instagram followers, and Nash Grier, who has 6.5 million followers on Vine.

"Those connections matter when you're trying to discover something brand-new," Luckett says. "Especially to kids who are living inside of these platforms."

Grier's Vine following played a key role in getting #SELFIE going. "I kid you not, when he tweeted the video to his fans, no one got a bigger reaction, not even David Hasselhoff," Pall says. "He was, by far, the most recognized person in the whole video."

The track got another huge boost after Ellen DeGeneres posted her star-filled, Twitter-crashing selfie from the Academy Awards ceremony. Within half an hour, Taggart and Pall had posted a 15-second clip of the photo's staging, with the song's hook, to Facebook.

"Three million people watched that video as it spread through Facebook — that little clip of Ellen's selfie moment," Luckett says.

The track has garnered comparisons to Baauer's Harlem Shake, but it may be even more interactive. Already, The Chainsmokers have posted downloadable audio clips to SoundCloud designed to allow fans to post their own creations to YouTube, Instagram and Vine.

"We've had people make their own verses about weightlifting or picking up girls," Pall says. "We've seen videos where people will do something funny before the song says, 'Let me take a selfie,' then it's a selection of really strange faces. It's pretty hilarious, the selfies we've seen happening."

On the web: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdemFfbS5H0

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