Friday, 23 July 2010

Newport State Of Mind - from Jay-Z to smoking to California to Welsh town, emergence of a meme

One of the most viral clips on the web right now is 'Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind)', a Welsh parody of the Jay-Z / Alicia Keys hit. However, it's not the first film to substitute the word 'New York' with the word 'Newport'.

The original Jay-Z / Alicia Keys version '(New York) Empire State Of Mind' has over 50 million views on YouTube:

Then in December 2009 Seventeen 'Newport State Of Mind feat Justice' was uploaded to YouTube and celebrates 'Newport Beach' (occasional swearing) [17,252 views]:

The following week, Keithfromupdablock uploaded a version of Empire State Of Mind that featured Newport cigarettes alongside couplets like:

"Now you smoke
One sweet puff will make you feel brand new
It just may retire you
Addicted to
Newports, Newports,NEWPORTS"

(swearing in last 10 seconds) [37,521 views]

Then the current Welsh version from mjdelaneyfilms and set in the South Wales town of Newport - 'Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind)' features classic rhymes such as:

Twinned with Guangxi Province in China
.....there's no province finer'

[395,461 views in 3 days - and spreading fast]:

Interesting to see how the Jay-Z / Alicia Keys 'Empire State Of Mind' parodies have evolved, particularly the ones centred around the word 'Newport.'

In the Long Tail Chris Anderson writes 'a house record that does well often attracts remixes from other producers; it becomes a kind of platform. Because these remixes are usually hyperspecialised for different microgenres, they’re complements to the original track. As the number of complements increases, the value of the platform track snowballs.’

We can see this at work with the Newport videos. YouTube analytics shows the Jay-Z track has had views from across the world, whereas the Newport Beach and Newport cigarettes parodies have been viewed almost exclusively by a US audience. The latest version of Newport State Of Mind has (unsurprisingly) been predominantly viewed by a UK audience.

New York is a global city with global appeal, the subsequent remixes have been localised and view counts tend to reflect this (the 'hyper-specialised remix'). However, the success of the Welsh film appears to be driving view counts to both the original Jay-Z video and the other remixes too - in line with Anderson's idea, the value of the platform track snowballing with each additional remix.

Will be interesting to have another look in a weeks time to see how many views 'Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind)' has received and what the knock-on effect for the originals has been.

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1 comment:

Pablo Edwards said...

I am just happy that these guys included subtitles. Call me a foolish New Yorker, but I'm just happy I know what they're saying!