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Who is this Pikotaro on YouTube?

2016 YouTube sensation undoubtedly came from Japan, in the form of PPAP by a musician called Pikotaro.

It started as the dance clip of just 1 minute 8 seconds.  Back in the summer of 2016, he released five similarly short clips at the same time.  It was with Justin Bieber’s tweet as his favourite of the moment back in September that shot PPAP to the world fame.  The huge reaction followed, and the rest is history.

Since then, Pikotaro released his pre-production interviews and dance tutorial, and his record label hosts his official website.  He released an extended version of PPAP and then an album to download in December.  He appeared in the long historical staple New Year’s Eve song battle in Japan.  He is booked to play in the legendary Budo-kan hall (on 6th March – you can still catch him), a concert in Taiwan, and Summer Sonic Festival in Tokyo and Osaka.  There are millions of related merchandise, including prolonged pop-up café in Tokyo’s tourist attraction Sky Tree.

What seemed like a bit of fun has become a real money spinner now.  For how much it was expected remains a mystery but the global response could have been a total surprise to Pikotaro and his production team.  His official website thanks Justin Bieber, as his lifesaver.

The Relevance of PPAP ANALYSIS?

Taken by surprise by his unexpectedly quick and big success, a lot of analysis came out.  You could name it PPAP Analysis if you like.  Measure it, or slice it up as you wish.  They all attribute the success to the simplicity of the music and dance, and crucially the lengths – or lack of it.

The 80’s techno scene’s favourite rhythm machine TR-808 is the only source of the sound, except his, err, singing.  It starts with the catchy little opener with colourful logo, then burst into a repetitive sound and movement sequence, followed by lingering silence at the end.  It is well played.  This simple yet thoughtful design and addictive performance allowed people around the world, professional, amateurs, YouTubers especially, to make it their own by combining with other video clips, songs, and performances.

It did not take long to make him become TV sensation.  He was on TV commercial adverts for at least six companies in January 2017, one of the rated second most popular one of the month.  With TV appearance, his fan base spread wide, noticeably concentrated on 6 to 12 years old, who did not have access to YouTube.  These children do not have any spending power, but they have a lot of influence on their parents’ decision-making.

Adverts need to communicate the brands and its benefits in short space of time.  Combining two completely unrelated items into one word, and keep repeating, is a genius for this purpose.  PPAP has caught the imagination of the marketers, and it is still in the process of evolving into many different messages.

Building on the YouTube Sensation

There are numerous hits and phenomena on social media, but most of them do not grow to become the revenue maker.  One reason for this is that they are not made to make money.  But if you keep your root, what you do well, and stay focused, social media platform is unbeatable to get the keen consumers to find you.

But as a musician, Pikotaro seems keen to position himself in the music industry.  His release of the full version of PPAP and album are available from the major downloading services.  The choice of the appearance for Summer Sonic is also interesting, as it is more dance music than pop or rock concentrated outdoor Festival.  He has the distinctive sense of target market for himself.

Unexpected success came from the focus on what he understood the best, although it looked initially to appeal to the limited market.  Social media gave him the gateway, but it was the production delivery made in perfection that sealed his fame.




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