Songs that became famous because of a system glitch

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

There's a City Pop record called 'Plastic Love', by Mariya Takeuchi, that, for some reason, shows up in Youtube's suggestions whenever you search for City Pop, Japanese 80s, Vaporwave, or a number of other searches. I've read that this is some kind of fluke, a glitch in Youtube's algorithm. As a consequence, it's been streamed by over 20 million youtubers, the album has been re-released, it has an official video, Madonna has recorded a cover of it, and it's one of the most famous Japanese pop songs outside of Japan.

Similarly, there's an OK record called 'New For U' by Andrés that Discogs will suggest whenever you search for almost any house record. As a result, this became one of the very most wanted LPs on Discogs. I can't find the list now, but it was way up there. I also read somewhere that this was a glitch in Discogs' algorithm.

It reminded me of a time when I tried to write my own script on my Linux computer. It was supposed to start my computer up at 7am, then play a random song from my collection. Instead, it always played the first song, alphabetically. Then I tried to get it randomize by artist, but then it just played the first artist, alphabetically. This meant that no matter what I did, I always woke up to '96 Tears' by ? And The Mysterions. It was like Groundhog day. I gave up on the script.

Anyway, this all made me wonder if any other songs have become famous because of a glitch, or a programming technicality.

3×5, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:03 (two weeks ago) link

yeah once it got rolling plastic love would constantly show up in recommended videos from extremely unrelated things, not even just other music vids. dunno if they've fixed it, i haven't seen it pop up in a while

ciderpress, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:08 (two weeks ago) link

it always played the first song, alphabetically

Our car does this — whenever it connects via Bluetooth to my wife’s phone, it plays “Abandoned Castle of My Soul,” by the Gothic Archies (sometimes very loudly). This has made the song famously reviled in our household.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:10 (two weeks ago) link

That's funny. I think I'll always have a negative association with 96 Tears now, too. As soon as I hear that Vox Continental play I get tense.

3×5, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:29 (two weeks ago) link

amine's "caroline" was the first song listed on the first spotify "fresh finds" playlist, grew into a top 20 hit. not a system glitch, but a stroke of immeasurable luck.

jakey mo collier (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:31 (two weeks ago) link

I'm currently running a summer camp, and the morning assembly playlist comes from my phone. So every time I get in my car after work bluetooth connects and I Gotta Feeling starts playing.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:36 (two weeks ago) link

"new for u" was a massive summer anthem in 2012 (at least on "serious" deep house dance floors)

the late great, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:40 (two weeks ago) link

this is not to say that this is an imaginary phenomenon, but "new for u" is not a good example of this phenomenon

the late great, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:43 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, “New For U” was in high demand from the moment it was released, and was re-pressed shortly after, and really elevated Andrés’ profile very quickly.

ed.b, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:36 (two weeks ago) link

This meant that no matter what I did, I always woke up to '96 Tears' by ? And The Mysterions.

I would probably be OK with this tbh

Colonel Poo, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:43 (two weeks ago) link

used to be the first song in my library, sorted by artist, was "the world's greatest sinner" by the a-bones

mariya takeuchi probably deserves better than to be the joe rogan of city pop

Abigail, Wife of Preserved Fish (rushomancy), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:45 (two weeks ago) link

smdh Andrés is respected and often great

Mariya Takeuchi was a huge pop star in Japan afaik

brimstead, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:14 (two weeks ago) link

idk this stuff just seems like an uninteresting butterfly effect thing, it’s kind of annoying isn’t it?

brimstead, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:21 (two weeks ago) link

Madonna has recorded a cover of it

Are you thinking of this DJ?:

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:41 (two weeks ago) link

My first ever stereo that had a shuffle function constantly picked tracks 1, 4, and 7 first. So according to me those are the best songs on many techno albums and compilations made between 1992-1999, I think

El Tomboto, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:17 (two weeks ago) link

That Midori Takada album was 'famously' supposedly given a massive boost by youtube recommendations. Two million plays for what was a really quite obscure ambient percussion record. Subsequent very successful resissue along with other related records.

Andrés 'New For U' was kind of congruent with stuff I would have been browsing at the time but it was genuinely first in recommendations on Discogs an awful lot it seemed.

Thank You (Fattekin Mice Elf Control Again) (Noel Emits), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:45 (two weeks ago) link

this happened with Clairo's "Pretty Girl" and launched her career

ufo, Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:59 (two weeks ago) link

poll: glitch / broken rng VS. payola

El Tomboto, Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:06 (two weeks ago) link

This meant that no matter what I did, I always woke up to '96 Tears' by ? And The Mysterions. It was like Groundhog day. I gave up on the script.

this sounds pretty ideal tbh

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:09 (two weeks ago) link

just tbc it’s fair to point out that andres “new for u” does show up a lot on discogs recommendations for a lot of people

but it organically was a hit record before that, not the other way around

the late great, Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:18 (two weeks ago) link

this "96 tears" thing would be a great fakeout opening montage for a movie, someone waking up each day to that same opening burst of organ, you assume time is repeating and then gradually you discover the joyous truth that this wonderful song is alphabetically first in both title and artist, and our protag is a struggling young linux programmer.........could be great. and either way you'd get to hear "96 tears" a lot.

Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 8 August 2019 12:11 (two weeks ago) link


Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 8 August 2019 12:29 (two weeks ago) link

this is a great idea for a thread!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 8 August 2019 12:31 (two weeks ago) link

Our car does this — whenever it connects via Bluetooth to my wife’s phone, it plays “Abandoned Castle of My Soul,” by the Gothic Archies (sometimes very loudly). This has made the song famously reviled in our household.

― 60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Wednesday, August 7, 2019 4:10 PM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

This could be a thread in itself. For me the song was "Adidas In Heat" by Adrian Belew. It was automatically downloaded to my iPhone because I had the album in iTunes years ago on my old computer. So fucking obnoxious.

Vape Store (crüt), Thursday, 8 August 2019 12:39 (two weeks ago) link

it's always interesting (to me) when the same track keeps coming up on youtube, wondering how personalised it is to me or how wide a swathe of youtube viewership are getting the same recommendation. sometimes pretty unlikely things keep popping up and have millions of views, but I'm p old and out of touch and have no idea if the algorithm made them or if they were popular already

(or how much that actually translates into real world fame, like if I tell people I'm into whatever quite niche-seeming band the algorithm is giving me this week will everyone be like, "sure, I know them", or rolling their eyes at my corny youtube-fed picks, or will they just look at me with the look I'd expect to get if I suddenly decided to talk to regular folks about, say, Belarusian tape-label coldwave - youtube sure does want me and apparently 1.2 million other people to listen to a band called Molchat Doma, which is quite often fine by me tbf)

a passing spacecadet, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:00 (two weeks ago) link

for a while, if i hadn't switched it to "shuffle" mode, the iPod that I mostly keep for the car would automatically start playing Aaron Dilloway's "Tremors," which is pretty tame, but which is quite would then transition into the second track off of Modern Jester, the high frequency and ultimately ear-testing "Eight Cut Scars (for Robert Turman)." Let's just say that I took that record off of the iPod at a certain point because my partner and i were tired of our ears getting pummeled on our way to work.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:54 (two weeks ago) link

Lmao, I do love that Aaron Dilloway record but not "wanna hear it every time I start the car" levels of love

Been a slow education for (bernard snowy), Saturday, 10 August 2019 11:26 (two weeks ago) link

I must admit I find that the Youtube algorithms are eerily accurate at predicting what music I will enjoy.

mirostones, Saturday, 10 August 2019 12:09 (two weeks ago) link

OK, I misread this being a technological glitch that accidentally sounded cool, and thought of Subway Sect's Ambition, where Bernie Rhodes added a synth pattern that was out of time, and it sounds great, like something bubbling underneath

Dr X O'Skeleton, Saturday, 10 August 2019 13:28 (two weeks ago) link

A-Punk by Vampire Weekend is what pops up alphabetically first for me when the car Bluetooth doesn’t sync correctly. It happens one out of every five or so times I get in.

LimbsKing, Sunday, 11 August 2019 10:39 (one week ago) link

In a reversal of "Plastic Love", YouTube recommending of the old Japanese TV show "Gachinko Fight Club" pushed the Dinosaur Jr deep cut "Over Your Shoulder" to hit status in Japan earlier this year:

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Sunday, 11 August 2019 10:54 (one week ago) link

lol i'd forgot about that, what a great story

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Sunday, 11 August 2019 17:36 (one week ago) link

A recent episode of the podcast Reply All explained that youtube re-engineered its algorithm to prioritize total viewing duration (as opposed to just views), and to avoid repeating the most-popular content (i.e. to not keep suggesting gangnam style), leading to the sudden and kind of unexpected promotion of a lot of fringey content. That was in the context of conspiracy and far-right channels, but it maybe also explains the semi-arbitrary success of, say, So Inagawa, a low-profile minimal house producer from Japan. His tracks have up to 7.3 million plays whereas comparable tracks on the same label have around 1-13 thousand.

ed.b, Sunday, 11 August 2019 19:11 (one week ago) link

there was some song that was semi-known a decade or more ago solely b/c the artist credit was first on some list of song readily available to license for free on youtube videos or something like that?? don't remember the title or artist (presumably it started with 'a') so unfortunately i won't be able to recall exactly what the situation was. but i remember what it sounded like somewhat, at least at the very beginning. m83-ish semi-whispery/processed vocals but dancy/electronic and catchy

dyl, Monday, 12 August 2019 02:56 (one week ago) link

beach house's "space song", while not popular solely due to the quirks of the youtube algorithm, has seemingly become by far their most popular song because of it. though more recently a lot of the comments cite "replika" as their referrer which is some sort of AI chatbot thing??

ufo, Monday, 12 August 2019 03:19 (one week ago) link

Could it perhaps be the numerically-named 009 Sound System and their copyright-free trance anthem “Dreamscape”?

what else are you all “over” (Champiness), Monday, 12 August 2019 03:21 (one week ago) link

whoops, xp

what else are you all “over” (Champiness), Monday, 12 August 2019 03:21 (one week ago) link

Barenaked Ladies have a song called "A" which I know the first few chords of very well

frogbs, Monday, 12 August 2019 03:27 (one week ago) link

xp oh yeah i'm pretty sure that's the one dyl is talking about. been a while since i heard that but that beginning is instantly recognisable lol

ufo, Monday, 12 August 2019 03:48 (one week ago) link

Haha exactly the same experience as me xp to frogbs

Vinnie, Monday, 12 August 2019 09:10 (one week ago) link

Barenaked Ladies have a song called "One Week” which I know the first few two words of very well

Vape Store (crüt), Monday, 12 August 2019 13:23 (one week ago) link

i've noticed this on discogs as well. other records that inevitably get shown (in addition to "new for u" in house music searches):
soundstream, "live goes on
pepe bradock, burning
motor city drum ensemble, raw cuts #5/3

it is v curious.

andrew m., Monday, 12 August 2019 14:10 (one week ago) link

yes champiness that was it!! also the song "with a spirit" by the same artist

dyl, Monday, 12 August 2019 14:56 (one week ago) link

I don’t think the Discogs algorithm is as mysterious as the YouTube algorithm - all those tracks are pretty popular anyway

I am using your worlds, Monday, 12 August 2019 14:59 (one week ago) link

apparently the 009 sound system thing was due to youtube's audioswap feature that started in 2007

thanks y'all for remembering :P

dyl, Monday, 12 August 2019 15:01 (one week ago) link

Ryo Fukui - Scenery

Ryo Fukui was an obscure Japanese jazz pianist until the algorithm gave his '76 album Scenery over 4 million views two years ago, now his album gets posted on r/jazz "more like this" threads so much it's a meme there

— curiosity killed the battery (@lowmediumhi) December 15, 2017

up to 8.5M views now

Ari (whenuweremine), Monday, 12 August 2019 15:21 (one week ago) link

he got Takeuchi'd

andrew m., Monday, 12 August 2019 15:37 (one week ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.