It’s repetitive, irritating and totally played-out (unless you’re a kid.) But “Baby Shark” isn’t going anywhere If Sony has its say. As part of a new deal, Sony/ATV, the world’s largest music publisher, is now handling the publishing for “Baby Shark” along with the rest of the music catalog from South Korean educational brand Pinkfong, the publisher announced Friday. Sony/ATV didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on the financial details of the new agreement.
Even without the thousands of other songs Sony took in the deal, “Baby Shark” on its own is big business. It’s the first kids’ song to become diamond-certified (meaning it’s sold at least 10 million units), and last week it became the most-viewed video ever on YouTube, dethroning Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito”; it’s sitting at more than 7.1 billion views on the platform. And that’s just the Pinkfong video; several other videos featuring the song have hundreds of millions of views, (even Fonsi jumped on a version for Pinkfong a few months ago).
“Baby Shark” is also obnoxious, torturously so according to a report from the Oklahoman, in which a few prison guards were charged with cruelty misdemeanors for allegedly forcing inmates to listen to the song at loud volumes on a continuous loop. Still the song’s impressionable child audience makes it ripe for other intellectual property and media opportunities, a music publisher’s dream.
Synch and licensing opportunities are the driving factor behind the booming song catalog acquisition business, with companies like Hipgnosis Songs Fund and Primary Wave spending up to the billions collecting songs to work into other media.
As Cathy Merenda, Sony/ATV’s senior vice president of broadcast and media rights said in a statement, the company is partnering with Pinkfong to expand the song into a major media franchise, meaning it’s far from the last we’ll hear of the song. That process already started before the Sony deal, with “Baby Shark” now having its own line of toys, live music experiences and an upcoming Nickelodeon show.
“We are thrilled to partner with Pinkfong as we work to expand the ‘Baby Shark’ universe across all media,” Merenda said. “Their song has become a global sensation with unlimited potential, and I’m confident we will give Pinkfong and ‘Baby Shark’ the best opportunities for future success.”