The trickle-down effect of Dhinchakism and other cringe pop phenomenon
We examine the musical and monetary consequences of the modern style of cringe-worthy music
Emotions rippled across the internet last week as Dhinchak Pooja’s sensational songs mysteriously vanished from YouTube. Though the videos eventually reappeared online, various experiments within the musicscape have become cyberspace favourites including playback singer Sonu Nigam’s interpretation of the track Dilon Ka Shooter.
Folk have also noticed up-and-coming musicians who’ve joined the fray to give #dhinchaks (fans who religiously follow the star’s gimmicks) a melodious treat. While a lot of old-school musicians get
irritated by cringe pop, these creative millennials have found unique stances on the contemporary phenomenon.
Deal with it
Although they took a lot of fire for their spoof being named a ‘jazz tribute’, students from a Mumbai-based Institute have paired their musicianship with some humour. “The idea was to present Pooja’s songs from a ‘classy’perspective, but it was a tough job to embed the lacklustre lyrics into a proper musical structure,” says vocalist Ambika Nayak. Despite the flack from people who think they’re bringing attention to cringe music, the 20-year old knows for sure that the fun project won’t influence them in any way.
However, Jalandhar-based emerging music producer Hiten Kumar (aka Hiten) has found something new since his R&B leaning electronic/vocal cover of Selfie Maine Leli Aaj garnered 2.12 lakh views on YouTube. “Beyond the fun element, I want to create short experimental pieces which will loop itself in people’s minds,” says the 22-year-old, on designing tracks with similar aesthetics as internet memes.
This pop-culture paradox has also brought many aspiring ensembles to the limelight. This is probably why Kolkata-based alternate rockers Astanaa altered Pooja’s lyrics to sing “Chal, side ho jare, behna,” asking her to step aside and make way for their music. “As a nascent band we’ve been trying to grab attention with our Bollywood covers and Bengali originals like Swadhinata, but we realised that such fads are easier means of gaining traction online,” says vocalist Indraneel Chatterjee.
In the case of the rap metal cover by Silchar-based The Minimalist Studios there have been deeper consequences. “Pooja’s songs were trending and we just got onto the bandwagon and this brought attention to the indie artistes we record at the studio,” informs the owner and guitarist Abhishek Goswami, astounded that the video led to a massive influx of new subscribers and substantial YouTube revenue.
Truth is, most of these cringe pop ‘artistes’, and in some cases, their production houses, are very much aware of what they are publishing and who they cater to. So while a vast majority of today’s meme generation ridicule them—to appease their own psyche because the tunes are ‘too bad to be missed’—the vocalists are laughing all the way to the bank.
According to SocialBlade’s analytics, the singer behind the viral hit Selfie Maine Leli Aaj may have earned an estimated $9,200 (`5.91 lakhs) from YouTube alone, in the past 30 days. This staggering number may have been higher, had the video not been removed temporarily for an alleged copyright infringement.
Surprised? Don’t be. Youtube India reportedly provides almost 55 per cent of AdSense generated revenue to content creators. While CPM (cost per thousand impressions) rates per user in India was previously assessed at $0.93, it obviously helps if a channel has over 1 lakh subscribers or videos hit more than 1 million views. In addition to this, artistes can also earn from offline event appearances, product placement deals or create sponsored content.All things said, ‘cringe’ has now found a permanent spot within every millennial’s lexicon, and by the looks of things, it’s just a matter of time before others start boarding this bandwagon.
Up-and-coming musicians often cover viral tunes. Not only is it a great way for them to gain exposure but—as we’ve noticed in the cringe pop spectrum—it often enhances the original record. Here are some cover songs that are leagues ahead of the prototype:-
Covered: Bhim Niroula
This Kathmandu-based singer’s downtempo acoustic rendition of Sunday Morning Love You is considered far superior to the initial record which has over 4.6 million views.
Covered: Vennu Mallesh
Born in Indonesia and raised in Richmond (USA), this 21-year-old ambient/acoustic artiste paid homage to the immensely popular Hyderabadi songwriter whose single It’s My Life What Ever I Wanna Do hit 10.4 million views.
This Canadian dance music producer remixed Goodbye, which has a whopping 8.58 million hits on YouTube alone. He collaborated with popular YouTuber JusReign and D4NNY (both of whom have Indian roots) to create this massive hip-hop/pop crossover rework which went on to amass 3.6 million views.
The Project Unplugged
Covered: Taher Shah
This is an Orissa-based musical enterprise for college students—where anyone can join. Their fantastic spoken-word rendition of the Pakistani vocalist’s Angel—which has over 6.3 million views—has helped these aspiring musicians gain some exposure.