Pretty Little Liars and 'Harlem Shake' Are the Future

Illustration for article titled emPretty Little Liars/em and Harlem Shake Are the Future

This week's EW cover story is about the power of Pretty Little Liars. It doesn't matter if you don't watch the show (which is actually pretty good and very addictive) — what's important are the numbers, and what they mean. See, compared to some other TV programs, PLL doesn't have huge ratings — not even half as many viewers as Big Bang Theory, which as 17 million a week. But that doesn't mean it no one is into it. As the mag explains:

Pretty Little Liars draws 3.8 million viewers each week, while also maintaining a colossal digital footprint of more than 10 million likes on Facebook, a Twitter handle (@ABCFpll) with a million-plus followers, and four stars who collectively reach more than 5.5 million with a tweet or retweet. ([star Lucy Hale] alone boasts 2.2 million Twitter followers.)

Broadcast TV isn't the whole story. Two seasons of PLL are on Netflix, and you can buy season passes on iTunes. And with House of Cards, Netflix is proving that the way of presenting shows to the public is changing — and, as Slate reports, streamed shows will be eligible to compete with broadcast TV shows at the Emmys.

Internet connectivity isn't just changing TV — it's continuing to change music. Downloads are one thing, but now, Billboard has announced that YouTube plays count when it comes to determining the Hot 100. As the New York Times reports,

The move comes just in time for Baauer's song "Harlem Shake," the latest viral video phenomenon, which will make its debut at No. 1 this week thanks to the change.


In other words, the number one song in the country right now is a meme that's barely ever been played on the radio. Music by a dude you wouldn't recognize on the street, even though there's an entire Tumblr of videos made using his track.

Don't get it twisted: Money still matters. Tweets don't necessarily add up to advertising dollars. (Although as far as the "Harlem Shake" videos go, Baauer, the guy who created the track, is making cash off the viral videos.) But it definitely seems like this is the future: Instead of individual entertainment outlets — movies, TV, radio — the internet swirls it all together, and makes it social. Aren't you more likely to watch something tons of people are Tweeting, Facebooking and Tumblring about than something people are just talking about? It's only a couple of clicks away.

This Week's Cover: The Surprising Power of 'Pretty Little Liars' [EW]
What's Billboard's No. 1? Now YouTube Has a Say [NYT]
'Harlem Shake' & Billboard: Baauer Song Tops Revamped Hot 100 Chart [HuffPo]
Meet Baauer, the Man Behind the Harlem Shake [Daily Beast]
How Your Harlem Shake Videos Make Money for the Original Artist [Time]
House of Cards Is Paying Off for Netflix [Slate]

Baauer image via Facebook

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So many things about PLL offend (ok, not offend—but bother) me: when did high schoolers start having those sorts of wardrobes? How am I supposed to sympathize with a teacher dating his student? Why do all shows staring teenagers these days have to be about rich beautiful people? Why don't they just tell the whole damn world about A? But holy crap, it is addictive to watch. It doesn't surprise me at all that so much of its success has come from Netflix—its only of those shows you can waste your whole Sunday watching in a massive binge instead of, you know, working on those job applications.

I don't understand the Harlem Shake, though.