Here’s why you can’t get Baby Shark out of your head and how it made it onto the UK Top 40 chart

Here's why the baby shark song has over 1.6 billion views.
Here's why the baby shark song has over 1.6 billion views.

If you’ve got a toddler in the house or you know someone who does, even if you know someone who knows someone who has a little one, you’ve probably heard this song. Because with over 1.6 billion views on YouTube, and having just entered the UK Top 40 Chart at number 37 – two places closer to number 1 than Cardi B’s I Like It, mind you – we can’t stop singing PinkFong’s catchy Baby Shark (doo doo, do-do doo doo) song.

Have you heard the baby shark song? Does your little one love it? Which other YouTube songs do they seem to want to listen to on repeat? Tell us by emailing and we may share your comments and songs with our readers. 

The Korean children’s YouTube channel PinkFong reports that, across all its platforms, the baby shark series has been watched over 3.3 billion times. So if you haven’t seen this video, you’ve probably heard a version of the song. And with the call to join the #BabySharkChallenge, you may even have seen an adaptation of Drake’s #InMyFeelingsChallenge that originated from his song of the same name with just under 1.1 million views (Hah! Cute).

You might have seen the Baby Shark song featuring two adorable Korean children demonstrating the dance, or any one of these adaptations, but have you heard the monkey banana dance or the baby car song? They’re exactly the same sounding, apart from the lyrics of course, which have been changed accordingly to fit the theme and animation.

Whether you’re singing “doo doo, do-do doo doo”, “banana-na-nas” or “boom-boom, vroom-vroom”, it’s so catchy that we can’t actually get it out of heads. And while it’s probably because it’s on repeat in the house, there’s a reason our little ones won’t let us listen to anything else.

Why our kids love the baby shark song and we can't get it out of our heads

We’ve written before that there's real science behind the songs that make babies feel calm inside and outside the womb, and what makes them gleam, chuckle and bop up and down. It has a lot to do with the tempo, sounds and words we string together. So when Grammy-award winner Imogen Heap, lecturer in developmental psychology Caspar Addyman, and music psychologist Lauren Stewart teamed up with a bunch of babies to conduct an experiment to determine exactly what about particular songs makes babies so very happy, they came up with the following:

  • Babies prefer harmonious, upbeat, up-tempo music, as their heart rates are much faster than ours.
  • They also prefer songs that provide opportunities for anticipation and surprise. This means songs should include musical devices such as drum rolls.
  • Songs should also be in a major key, with a simple, fast and repetitive melody, with a few key changes in between.
  • A rising pitch also creates a sense of delight before an eventual surprise.
  • Babies respond positively to a female voice, but even better when it adopts the qualities of "motherese", i.e. the high-energy, singsong tune and baby language we all sort of take on when talking to babies.
  • If a song is funny, or silly-sounding, you’re also more likely to get a delighted giggle from your baby. So particular sounds, especially those plosive ones like “pa!”, “ba!” or sticking with our viral video, “doo!”, tends to get the little ones going, while silly sounds like a shark ominously swishing through the water will have a similar effect.
  • And finally, their checklist suggests that if the song is one that both baby and mom and dad can enjoy, it’s more likely to be a hit.

The baby shark song tells, in a very catchy way paired with dance moves both toddler and parents can do, the story of a family – a shark family hunting fish, which, in itself, adds to the success of the song. Because Addyman writes, “Happiness is a shared emotion and the success of nursery rhymes is that they are interactive”.

So while our kids might love the baby shark song because it incorporates all the phonic devices and instruments that essentially makes them smile, we may very well find joy in the fact that, not only is it catchy, it’s something that we can share and use as a way to communicate our happiness and love when we're with them, even if it is with a simple “doo doo doo”.

Have you heard the baby shark song? Does your little one love it? Which other YouTube songs do they seem to want to listen to on repeat? Tell us by emailing and we may share your comments and songs with our readers. 

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