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Weird Al’s ‘Mandatory Fun’ debuts at No. 1 on Billboard after viral video craze

It’s good to be weird — Weird Al Yankovic, that is. After 30 years of producing hit parody albums, Weird Al has finally hit number 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart with his album Mandatory Fun. In a stroke of marketing genius, the parody expert decided to release one music video a day for eight days to promote his album.

Immediately after the first video, a parody of Pharrell’s Happy, was released, the Internet went wild. Publications large and small wrote about Weird Al’s first music video in years and promised to cover the next seven. We here at Digital Trends updated a post on Weird Al’s music videos daily. Long story short, the videos went viral and Weird Al’s mobile and social media mentions skyrocketed an astonishing 3,391 percent between the weeks of July 7-13 and July 14-20, according to the New York Daily News.

From then on, the popularity of Mandatory Fun continued to rise. Kontera, the Amobee Brand web analytics company stated that Weird Al’s videos enjoyed more exposure than any other music star during that week. His closest competitor was Beyonce, whose videos only enjoyed half the exposure. Kontera said that Yankovic’s take on Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines called Word Crimes was the most popular video of all, followed by his version of Pharrell’s Happy called Tacky, Iggy Azalea’s Fancy called Handy, and Lorde’s Royals called Foil.

All that talk on social media obviously gave Mandatory Fun the push it needed to take the number one spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Weird Al’s first number one record ever sold 104,000 copies from July 15 to July 20, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard also stated that its the first comedy album to take the number one spot since 1963 and the biggest selling comedy album since 1994. Needless to say, Weird Al was overjoyed. He bombarded Twitter with several tweets, expressing his gratitude and excitement.

Weird Al discussed his strategy in an interview with NPR before the first video hit the Web, saying that “I wanted to really do what is ostensibly my last album with a big splash. I wanted the first week to be big; I wanted every single day of release week to be an event. I wanted a video to go viral for an entire day and have people talking about that video, and then the next day they’re talking about a new video. I just thought that would be a really fun way to do it, to make a big deal out of release week.”

Based on the album’s success, it seems that his strategy worked perfectly.

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