Two things I never expected to collide in my adult life are Pokemon and liquor, but as I walked through the whisky aisle looking for a cheap bottle, a friend was walking the aisle looking for Pokemon to capture. Last time I checked Pikachu wasn’t a Hennessy sipper but things change, habits form, Pokemon shouldn’t be immune to alcoholism. All weekend everywhere I turned someone was playing Pokemon - on Twitter, on Facebook, in the apartment complex - for the first time in a long time I felt 10 again. That’s the last time I really felt like the world was going Pokemon crazy.
After 20 years, Nintendo has found a way to take the beloved series from the hand-held Gameboy into hand-held smartphones. Pokemon Go is a futuristic step forward for the franchise, a game that takes players outside of their homes to capture Pokemon, collect items, and battle in a way that has never been done before. It only took one weekend for the game to become a global success. It’s been reported that Nintendo’s stock has shot up 25%, with an impressive $7.5 billion grossed since the game’s release. From the U.S. alone, Pokemon Go is making $1.6 million in daily revenue. This isn’t something that should be considered a fad on Twitter, this is a global phenomenon that appeared overnight and completely engrossed the world. Pokemon has always been a cash cow but even by its own standards of success, this is spectacular.
What really indicates the booming desire to catch them all is that Pokemon music plays have skyrocketed on Spotify. Billboard reported that the legendary “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” theme song that motivated kids to be, “The very best like no one ever was,” has jumped up 362% on a global level in the last seven days. If the plays continue, due to the new streaming rules, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pokemon theme song pops up on the top of Billboard’s Hot 100.
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For the song to experience that much traction in such a short time shows in real time the power of virality in the social media era. The same way music that appears in viral memes will inflate sales and plays, like we saw with 1996's "My Boo" charting again after the running man challenge, Pokemon music is being impacted. Not just the theme song, all Pokemon music. Billboard also reported that overall all Pokemon music that can be found on the app has tripled in plays, including “Pokerap,” “Pokemon Johto,” and “I Want To Be A Hero”; 197,000 new playlists have been created, and 53k of them are uncreatively named “Pikachu.” Hopefully Young Thug’s “Picacho” is included in each one. In other words, yes, seriously, at this very moment this is one of the most popular "rap" songs on Spotify.
Time is being spent playing and listening to Pokemon, it truly feels like we have somehow returned to the year 1996. It’s insane that someone with a song rhyming about Ash and company will make more money on Spotify than a rapper trying to mimic Future or Young Thug. It says a lot about the impact of moments. Because of social media, every little thing can become a huge event. For most of us, Pokemon is nostalgic, but the series didn’t stop when the Gameboy kids became bill-paying adults. There's been a new generation of games for a new generation of kids, I suspect that Pokemon Go is reaching all ages from children to adults due to the series never fading away. Mobile gaming has become a huge industry in the last few years, Pokemon Go is the new Angry Birds, but since it has connections that expand into other industries I wouldn’t be surprised if all things Pokemon are selling like blue magic. Might be a great time to take those old trading cards to eBay.
There’s no telling how long the Pokemon craze will last. The game has already led to a girl discovering a dead body, a robbery, and some questionable security policies that could cause the popular game to peak and fall sooner than later. Still, Pokemon music has never been this popular. The plays are only growing as the journey to be a master continues. What a time to be alive indeed.
By Yoh, aka Yohkachu, aka @Yoh31
Photo Credit: Instagram