What the hell is going on with this explosion in sea shanties?

Who would have expected that sea shanties–often centuries old sailor worksongs–would become a massive social media trend? Just go to TikTok and search for #ShantyTok and be amazed.

Spotify now reports that users have created more than 12,000 sea shanty-related playlists since about Christmas. And those are just the ones that have “sea shanty” or “sea shanties” in the title. Searches for such music have grown by 630% since last fall. Some of the most popular playlists have seen streams triple or quadruple.

Not wanting to be left behind, Spotify has created its own Sea Shanties playlist, which has more than 63,000 followers. The most popular, though, is Sea Shanties That Drop My Panties which has 109, followers.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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