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Pop Culture

Pop Culture

Why Gotye gave up $10 million in ad revenue from his 'Somebody That I Used to Know' video

The humble singer-songwriter's story is a cautionary tale of viral fame.

Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" video has 2.2 billion views on YouTube.

For most musicians, creating a hit song and making it big on the international stage would be living the dream. For Gotye, it turned out to be a bit of a nightmare.

Gotye is the stage name of Wouter "Wally" De Backer, the singer-songwriter behind the 2011 smash hit song, "Somebody That I Used to Know." The music video for the song becoming one of YouTube's most-liked videos, and with 2.2 billion views, the video could have earned over $10 million in ad revenue.

But De Backer has refused to place ads on it, saying, "I'm not interested in selling my music. That's the reason I don't put ads on my YouTube channel, which seems strange to people in today's climate, but that is a decision you can make. I'm like that with all my music."

It was the fame that came with the virality of the song that was the bigger issue for the artist, however. It's a simple enough thing to turn down money, but there's not much you can do to stop a viral wave.


The song took six months to write and produce, and when the video leaked a week before its official release, it quickly caught fire. At first, De Backer was just excited that his song was being played on the radio. Then the virality online took hold and that was also exciting for a while.

From the start, De Backer was grateful for the song's success, but he also managed to stayed simple and humble. He didn't buy anything large or luxurious with the money he made from song sales, being content to drive his old van. And when he was asked what was the best thing that happened in the previous year, he responded, "It probably wouldn't be anything to do with a marker of success of my song or my album. More something like a really great swim I took at Summer's Beach near where I live."

Soon the covers and parodies of the "Somebody That I Used to Know" grew more widespread and the quality of them began to wane, De Backer began to feel "burnt out" on it all. He had no control over people connecting name with whatever they were hearing done to his song, which was frustrating. He started to feel the pressures that come with fame, to have a certain personality or to follow up his huge hit with another huge hit. And he missed feeling like he had a personal connection with his audience, which becomes difficult at a certain scale.

He even began to feel self-conscious about the popularity of the song due to its theme—two people who had broken up and couldn't work out their differences. The fact that so many people were celebrating it so fiercely was uncomfortable for him; he didn't want to be responsible for spreading more angst or bitterness in the world. And then came the "overplayed" and "annoying" era of oversaturation. He even apologized to people for having to hear the song so often because radios wouldn't stop playing it.

Ultimately, he ceased putting out music as a solo artist and focused on making music with his long-time band, The Basics. There is a possibility for another solo Gotye project sometime in the next decade, but he's probably hoping he doesn't end up with a big hit next time around.

Watch SunnyV2 tell the story of Gotye's "one hit wonder" experience and how it impacted his musical career:

It's a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks they want to be famous or wishes they'd have a song go viral. Parts of that experience can be great, but fame isn't always everything it's cracked up to be.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Creator shares strange animal facts, weirds people out with jacana bird

Sometimes we see things that simply cannot be unseen. TikTok creator Mamadou Ndiaye who goes by the screen name mndiaye_97, has made his career out of educating people about weird animal facts that he finds fascinating. In most of his videos people walk away feeling more knowledgable on what animals to stay away from and which are actually as cuddly as they look.

But sometimes his videos makes the internet collectively gasp as they hear these untold facts. Recently, Ndiaye shared a video about the Jacana bird, who at first glance looks like an average bird with abnormally large feet. Viewers quickly realize the video is taking an hilariously uncomfortable turn when the next fact he drops involves a picture of the bird appearing to have eight sets of legs. Or maybe claws? No matter what it resembles, it's what nightmares are made of.

One viewer called it, "Birdie Kruger," and they're not wrong because the facts about this bird just kept getting more disturbing.


The multiple legs seen dangling from the bird don't actually belong to that bird. Those smaller legs belong to the babies that are somehow tightly tucked under the feathers of this creature nicknamed the "Jesus Bird" for it's ability to walk on water. The bird holding all of those babies is actually the male Jacana bird because the female birds leave after laying eggs. Though as the video goes on, viewers quickly realize the mama bird leaving is probably the best thing she could ever do for the chicks left behind.

While Ndiaye apologized at the start of the video before traumatizing his audience, the viewers rejected his sorrows, demanding to return to a life where they didn't know this bird existed.

"I would like to go back to the person I was 3 min ago," someone says.

"I'm forwarding you my therapy bill this week, and I expect it paid on time," another jokes.

"There is a world where I didn't see this. I wanna be the one living there," a commenter cries.

"I accept your apology for showing me the satan of birds," someone else laughs.

Well, you've been thoroughly warned. Watch the video below at your own risk.

@mndiaye_97

I really hope that proud family joke doesnt go under the radar #birds#nature#moreyouknow#learnontiktok

Artist's apartment gains protected status after his death

You move into an apartment and can't wait to decorate it however you'd like but unfortunately you're pretty limited on what you can do. Most apartments don't approve anything that can't be easily removed, some don't even allow you to paint. One man in England decided that he was going to make his apartment his own by decorating it with his artwork.

Ron Gittins was an artist that lived in the same apartment for over 30 years before his death. During his time in the apartment, the artist had created art all over the walls. Not just elaborate paintings but huge sculptures affixed to the walls that took up the wall's entirety. His family visited the home after Gittins passed away, they were shocked to find such massive elaborate art pieces throughout the home.

The artist died in September 2019 according to CNN, but if you stepped into the home now, you'd see everything still in its place.


No one had been able to visit the man when he was alive as he discouraged people from coming over. After his death, his niece finally got to see what was behind the door. Outside of piles of art supplies, boxes and other items, the home was full of this amazing artwork that simply couldn't be destroyed. At least that what Gittins' niece, Jan Williams and partner Chris Teasdale thought, so they decided to petition to have it preserved.

“We always kept in touch but he did have some mental health problems and could create some difficult situations,” a family member explains to artnet. “But he didn’t seem to worry if other people sometimes thought he was mad. I think he believed he was ahead of the game somehow and if other people didn’t get it then that was their problem.”

Williams explains to CNN that her uncle was very flamboyant and would often go out dressed in costumes foraging for things to bring back home. It wouldn't be surprising if he was collecting things to include in his artwork. Thanks to the effort of Gittins' niece and her partner, others can enjoy his massive works of art at "Ron's Place," which is what they named the now protected site.

Williams and Teasdale, who are also artists started Wirral Arts and Culture Community Land Trust to crowdfund to save the apartment. Eventually the trust collected enough money through benefactors for the purchase of the entire apartment building and had been waiting for the special status granted by Britain's Department for Culture.

Walking into the apartment is like walking into an art museum. He created larger than life animals to accent the fire places. One fireplace has a large lion's head on it with its mouth wide open like it's roaring, and inside the lion's mouth is the opening of the fire place. There another one that has the head of a minotaur decorating it. Large murals are painted on all the walls that depict ancient Roman scenes.

"Ron always had his own particular vision and tended to work outside the parameters of the official art world. Although he sometimes undertook portrait commissions, he was more concerned with giving free reign to his imagination resulting in the creation of immersive visionary environments," Ron's Place website reads.

Recently, Ron's Place was granted Grade II status which protects it from being destroyed in anyway as it has "more than special interest." The rest of the apartment building won't go to waste. According to CNN, the other apartments will be renovated and turned into artist studios where people could come to work on their art. Seems Gittins' passion for art will live on through others who visit his home and those that create works of art in the same apartment building.

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.


“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

Reddit user Gisgiii posed a question to the AskReddit subforum “What is a subtle sign that someone is really intelligent?” and the answers painted a clear picture of how smart people behave. They tend to be great communicators who understand their audience and are more concerned with getting things right than being right.

Here are 18 of the best answers.

1. They draw wisdom from multiple sources.

"They draw wisdom from multiple sources. Wait but that might be more wise than intelligent... But I guess those two tend to be seen together a lot," — Puzzlehead-Engineer

2. They know their audience.

"They can switch up the way they talk to match the person they're talking to without sounding condescending. They listen to how others learn and explain it in that person's language of understanding," — Wynonna99

3. They develop a keen sense for their job.

"I used to work with a doctor - Tom Howard - and the day I realized he was a genius was the time he guessed every single condition a patient of mine had based on minute pieces of information about him," — Yodei_Mon

4. Curiosity.

"They are curious about everything. To be intelligent you need to be knowledgeable and you can't be knowledgeable if you are never curious," — soup54461

5. They're great at conveying ideas.

"When they explain something they make you feel intelligent," — gwoshmi

6. Considerate questions.

"They spend time thinking before asking a question," — ParkMan73

7. They make hard ideas simple.

"They effortlessly communicate complex concepts in a simple way," — joculator

8. They know what they don't know.

"They know when their knowledge ends and say something to the extent of 'i don't know and anything else i say on this topic is ignorant speculation,'" — blutoboy

9. They ask great questions.

"They can ask really good questions."

"Edit: to anyone not understanding what mean, I’m talking about people who ask “really good questions”, not just any questions, really good ones. I don’t know how one would achieve this skill(I know I haven’t)," — milkmanbran

10. They don't pretend to know everything.

"They aren’t afraid to say they don’t know the answer to a question," — xchernx

11. They change their minds with new information.

"They admit to changing their mind about something," — FarAwayAdventure

12. They pivot well.

"They apply knowledge from one realm into a new and relevant situation," — soubestitch

13. They are open-minded.

"They can genuinely consider an idea which opposes their worldview without necessarily accepting it," — paidshill29

14. They use analogies.

"People who use analogies to explain concepts to others. It’s a form of code-switching and integrating concepts on the fly and is a clear indicator someone is both socially and conceptually intelligent," — SwimmerAutomatic2488

15. They don't argue.

"I think intelligent people are more willing to calmly debate/discuss, rather than argue. Like, you explain to them why you disagree, and they listen to you and ask further questions about your viewpoint before offering a different perspective; as opposed to an unintelligent person, who would just resort to insults when other people disagree with them," — AngelicCinnamonBun

16. They learn from mistakes.

"Admitting when they're wrong and being willing to learn from mistakes," — siyl1979

17. A sense of humor.

"Humor. I think that truly funny people are often very smart and cognizant of the different ways an idea can be humorous on several levels. They also know their audience. I think the difference between say a Jeff Foxworthy and a Dave Chappelle and a Bo Burnham is their audience and their interests," — biscuitboi967

18. A love of learning.

"They say they love learning and they learn something new every day. Then they listen more than talk," — throwingplaydough


This article originally appeared on 12.04.21