As if you needed any more proof that YouTube has democratized and globalized the music distribution process, the popular video-sharing website has found its next pop star from a very unlikely source.
Muhammad Shahid Nazir, a 31-year-old fishmonger and father of four, came up with "One Pound Fish" as a catchy way to sell produce at his London market stall. "Come on ladies, come on ladies, one pound fish," Nazir's jingle begins in a video posted to YouTube by a British web designer earlier this year.
The original video garnered nearly 8 million views, making Nazir such an Internet celebrity that Warner Music Group signed him to their label and put his song on iTunes, which you can now buy for £1.99, twice as much as the price of his famous fish. His professionally produced "O-Fish-Al" rendition of "One Pound Fish" has more than 10 million YouTube views.
According to the New York Times, Nazir's web stardom has even reached his native Pakistan, where a block on YouTube failed to prevent the viral hit from reaching his countrymen. Nazir received a warm welcome on a recent trip home to Lahore:
[Pakistan's The Nation via The New York Times]Around 250 people, including local politicians met him at the airport, showering him with rose petals and chanting "Long Live One Pound Fish!" while TV networks interrupted coverage of the fifth anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to show his return live.
Nazir couldn't be happier about his newfound fame in the music industry, tweeting New Year's thank-you's to his 33,000 Twitter followers:
hello everyone it is going to be new year for me here in pakistan in 5 minutes and then i will be sleeping. i want to wish everybody in the— One Pound Fish (@Real1PoundFish) December 31, 2012
uk a very very happy new year and best wishes for 2013. thank you so much uk you have been amazing kind and i can never thank you enough.— One Pound Fish (@Real1PoundFish) December 31, 2012
He's also pleased that his song's fans have a new appreciation for fish:
Hello from pakistan everyone had a nice day i have listen to my song everywhere in my town its amazing how everyone is dancing to fish.— One Pound Fish (@Real1PoundFish) December 28, 2012