"Baby Shark" is an aquatic adventure popularized by Pinkfong, a Korean-based brand that produces educational sing-a-longs and dance videos for children. The catchy jingle introduces a family of sharks who are getting ready to hunt their prey but, to the relief of all the toddlers singing along, the little fishes escape the hungry jaws of the shark clan.
The song is based on a campfire sing-a-long about a swimmer who loses his limbs to a shark and eventually dies. The singers use hand motions to mimic the shark's actions and the victim's demise, playing the harp and fashioning devil's horns with their fingers depending on whether he ends up in heaven or hell. There are several variations, with some changing the swimmer to a surfer who comes back to life as a baby shark.
The tune's origins are unknown, but it gained popularity at camps and preschools in the mid-2000s. In the 2007 book American Band, about high school marching bands, author Kristen Laine explains how some bandleaders used the song as a stretching exercise for their students.
Pinkfong uploaded the video to its official YouTube channel in November 2015 and it started making waves across southeast Asia before becoming a worldwide phenomenon in the summer of 2018. The clip - which reached the Top 40 of YouTube's most-viewed videos ever with over 1.6 billion views (more than 3 billion across all platforms) - also inspired a social media craze.
The "Baby Shark Challenge" featured adults, mostly parents of shark-obsessed toddlers, emulating the simple dance moves from the video. Some fans took the stunt to a new level by copying the "In My Feelings" challenge, which featured Drake followers jumping out of their vehicles and dancing to his hit single. Instead, "Baby Shark" devotees dressed up like Great Whites and jumped from their still-moving cars to dance along to the kids' tune.
The song opens with ominous strings reminiscent of John Williams' Jaws theme to tease the shark family's arrival, but the snippet was actually taken from the fourth movement of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9.
The song inspired the Pinkfong Baby Shark Live Musical in 2017, which has Daddy Shark enlisting Pinkfong, a prince from the planet Staria, to help find the missing Baby Shark.