In recent years, the NSYNC song “It’s Gonna Be Me” has inspired one of the internet’s favorite date-related gags, and the best place to witness that meme’s growth is on YouTube. Justin Timberlake’s unique pronunciation of the word “me” in the 2000 pop song’s chorus has allowed the track to become the official anthem of the month of May. As a result, during the final day of April, the “It’s Gonna Be Me” video sees a drastic spike in viewership, because it’s gonna be May.
Know Your Meme traces the history of “It’s Gonna Be May” back to 2012, but the joke has really taken off over the past four April 30ths. It got on President Obama’s radar in 2014, and Timberlake himself acknowledged it two years later. This year, Twitter users and media companies have once again jumped on the opportunity to tell their followers which month is about to start.
— Bustle (@bustle) April 21, 2017
— People Magazine (@people) April 30, 2017
— SmileySueS (@SmileySueS) April 30, 2017
On YouTube, meanwhile, the official music video for the corresponding NSYNC becomes a viral craze for one day each year. The video site’s Trends department says “It’s Gonna Be Me” viewership increases 5.2 times over, and the video’s search volume goes up 6.9 times over. Even the NSYNC songs that can’t be misconstrued to refer to months of the year see a bump on April 30th. They get an average of 23% more views and 26% more shares, YouTube says.
While data isn’t yet available for this year’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” viewership spike, this graph from YouTube shows that interest in the video began to heat up even before April 30th, suggesting that the It’s Gonna Be May meme is as spicy as ever.
I’m all for a good internet joke, but I’d also like to contend that “It’s Gonna Be Me” has merit outside of April 30th as well. After all, they don’t make dance moves like these anymore: