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Baby Shark (Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo) Billboard Chart (Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo)


We preemptively apologize for getting it stuck in your head.

But “Baby Shark,” a song as infectious as anthrax to which the caretakers of young children likely need no introduction, entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 32 this week, placing Pinkfong, a South Korean educational brand, alongside the world’s top musical artists.

For the uninitiated, click if you dare.

“Baby Shark,” which Pinkfong says it based on a “traditional singalong chant,” has been viewed more than 2.1 billion times on YouTube, making it among the 30 most-viewed videos ever.

It was streamed 20.8 million times just in the past week, Billboard said, with 73 percent of those streams coming from video.

Its rise onto the charts comes long after SmartStudy, a Seoul-based company that has produced thousands of children’s videos under the Pinkfong brand, first posted it on YouTube in November 2015. The company remixed it, adding a new beat and melody, in the now-popular version posted in June 2016. It has now been adapted into more than 100 versions in 11 languages, the company said.

The song was helped along by attention from K-pop acts in Korea and spread throughout Southeast Asia before eventually finding its way to the United States in 2018, when a social media challenge invited people to post videos of themselves dancing to the song. Participants included Ellen DeGeneres and James Corden, while Kylie Jenner and Cardi B made references.

It first appeared on Billboard’s Kid Digital Song Sales chart in July, followed by the Streaming Songs chart in November. It also made it to the U.K. Top 40, which is not produced by Billboard, in September.

Making a Top 40 list is far from easy. Jimi Hendrix made it to Billboard’s just once. Wu-Tang Clan never made it.

But today’s charts are different, and often include an eclectic mix of music. Billboard has made a series of changes to its rankings for an era in which viral hits on social media can capture more attention than sustained radio airplay, and consumers download more music than they buy in record shops.

In 2012, Billboard began counting digital sales and online streams in its singles chart, immediately lifting “Gangnam Style,” the YouTube hit by the South Korean rapper Psy, to the top of the new Rap Songs chart.

In 2014, Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, the agency that supplies Billboard’s data, added streams and downloads to its album chart formula. Billboard and Nielsen tweaked the formula in July, making streams from paid services like Spotify and Apple Music worth about three times as much as those from “free” users, including YouTube viewers.

Bin Jeong, the chief executive of Pinkfong USA, said in an emailed statement that the digital content company is responding to the success of “Baby Shark” by creating toys, DVDs and other consumer products, including books and diapers. The company, which has about 200 employees in offices in South Korea, the United States and China, is also working on TV shorts and a movie, he said.

“We are not planning to settle for Baby Shark hitting the music charts and getting YouTube views, but we are developing Pinkfong and Baby Shark into an entertainment brand that will be enjoyed by generations to come,” she said.





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Music

Review: In ‘Pelléas,’ the Met Opera’s Music Director Takes Charge


Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the new music director of the Metropolitan Opera, may not have many appearances with the company this season. But conducting the opening of Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” on Tuesday night, he seemed fully in charge.

The 43-year-old conductor captured the hushed eeriness of the work’s first few measures, in which the orchestra suggests the somber, mysterious mood that pervades the entire opera. But that’s not all.

What also came through immediately was that, still fresh in his new role at the Met, Mr. Nézet-Séguin has arrived with bold interpretive ideas and the determination to carry them out. He took a daringly slow tempo in this opening passage, a solemn, low theme in chords that hints at modal plainchant. The restrained sound of the strings was deep and dark, yet resonant and slightly tremulous. The theme that immediately follows — a nervous, oscillating two-note motif — was all the more ominous for his subdued, weighty rendering.

[Why it matters that the Met’s music director is openly gay]

Throughout this long work, Mr. Nézet-Séguin conveyed the subliminal intensity that courses through even the most seemingly languid and diaphanous passages. The fraught eruptions had shattering impact. During whole stretches, the orchestra enshrouds the vocal lines with sonorities that give lift and clarity to the sung words, while tapping into the psychological undertow of the emotions. All this came through in the performances Mr. Nézet-Séguin drew from the inspired orchestra and admirable cast.

In a revealing interview with The New York Times published this week, Mr. Nézet-Séguin said that the “basic presence of the orchestral sound” at the Met is not exactly what he imagines it could be. With his elegant, vibrant performances of Verdi’s “La Traviata” in December, he worked to bring out what he called a richer, more resonant and bass-oriented sound.

Though his comments were a little vague, what he is describing generally characterized this “Pelléas.” He emphasized the Wagnerian elements that seeped into Debussy’s score, especially with the orchestra’s deep-set, warm sound — which did seem different from the lighter textures favored by his predecessor, James Levine. (Mr. Levine was fired last year over allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has denied.) Yet, the weightiness was balanced by French-styled radiance in the opera’s many iridescent passages.

This “Pelléas” is the first revival in nearly a decade of Jonathan Miller’s 1995 production, which metaphorically sets the story of an ill-fated family in a Gothic 19th-century castle where outdoor forests and chalky inner sanctums seem to merge. The sense of doom that runs through this opera, with a libretto Debussy adapted from Maeterlinck’s Symbolist play, came through in the opening scene between Prince Golaud, a grandson of King Arkel of Allemonde, and Mélisande, the frightened, secretive young woman Golaud encounters weeping by a fountain in the forest. The bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen commanded the stage as Golaud, his voice robust and strong, yet grave.

A lonely widower, Golaud is at once drawn to and protective of Mélisande. He knows not to press her immediately with questions about where she has come from, who has harmed her, and how. The mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard brought a melting sound to Mélisande while suggesting the character’s fears and volatility. Yet, she intriguingly tapped into this fragile young woman’s willfulness. After all, it takes control to maintain secrets (and to downright lie) as Mélisande does. You understand why she almost passively, as we soon learn, marries Golaud. What other course is there? In a way, what does it matter?

The tenor Paul Appleby brought youthful impulsiveness and sweetness to Pelléas, Golaud’s impressionable younger half brother, who falls uncontrollably in love with Mélisande. But on Tuesday, he seemed vocally underpowered, especially in his lower register. The role has been sung both by light baritones and tenors. Mr. Appleby’s voice had more presence when the music took him into his bright, upper range.

The veteran bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, singing with earthy sound and aching sadness, was magnificent as the old, nearly-blind Arkel, who seems to accept that all people, even the members of his sullen family, are guided by fates we can only guess at. The plush-voiced contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux had a notable Met debut in the small but crucial role of Geneviève, the wistful mother to both Golaud and Pelléas. A. Jesse Schopflocher, an impressive treble, made an endearing Yniold, Golaud’s young son, who is baffled by the adults and turns fearful when his father is seized with violent jealousy of his wife.

Alas, there are only four remaining performances, with Mr. Nézet-Séguin conducting just three. It will take time for him to fill out his schedule at the Met. But it’s worth the wait.



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