The Harlem Shake: Postmortem of a Video Craze 2,782 Years Spent Watching the Harlem Shake

In just one month, the world watched 27 centuries of Harlem Shake videos. In that time, we could have:

  • Made $176 million working for minimum wage
  • Earned 50,780 bachelor's degrees
  • Traveled to the sun and back 2,312 times

Those of us who are less ambitious could have watched The Lord of The Rings extended edition trilogy (with credits!) two million times or thrown a Law and Order marathon, viewing every episode in the franchise more than 33 thousand times.



Making the Videos: A Unique Trend

The Harlem Shake is different from most YouTube trends, because we didn’t just watch Harlem Shake videos, we made Harlem Shake videos; and we made a lot of them. Companies, brands, sports teams, college students, and even cartoons uploaded videos throughout February. Those uploads peaked on February 15th, and many declared the trend dead. Last week, however, the Miami Heat proved that the trend is still very much alive when the team shared a Harlem Shake video that acquired more than 28 million views in just five days.

How much time did we spend watching videos from popular celebrities and brands?

  • Miami Heat: 419,286 hours
  • The Simpsons: 92,510 hours
  • Playboy: 4,553 hours
  • Ryan Seacrest: 3,630 hours
  • SI Swimsuit Edition: 1,863 hours

Is the Harlem Shake Smart Advertising?

Most Harlem Shake videos are around 30 seconds long. How do those 30 seconds stack up to those other famous 30 second spots?

  • Uploading a 30-second Harlem Shake video to YouTube: $0
  • Placing a Super Bowl ad: $4.2 million
  • Average views for the top 10 Harlem Shake videos: 24.8 million
  • Average views for the top 10 Super Bowl ads: 7.9 million

Not only did Harlem Shake videos get more views than Super Bowl ads, they got more likes. The top 10 Harlem Shake videos average 127k likes, more than six times the Super Bowl average of 20.5k likes.

The Harlem Shake has Consequences

Brand engagement is great, but a number of videos made news for their negative consequences. Some Harlem Shake videos got players banned from teams and others got teams banned from playoffs. Some people were fired for their Harlem Shakes. So, with a month of the Harlem Shake behind us, we wish it well as it (hopefully) rides off into the sunset. RIP, Harlem Shake. It’s been fun.

Data was collected and analyzed by YTD Video Downloader and Converter on March 4, 2013. Media inquiries can be sent to YTD Contact ([email protected]).