Last summer, Hozier’s Guitars published a feature on how the Take Me To Church video went viral in September 2013. Through our research, we knew that Reddit played a key role as a catalyst in the viral event that Take Me To Church became.
When Hozier announced this week that he would have an upcoming Reddit AMA on June 24, we set out to try to close the circle on a loose end that had been bothering us for a year.
Here’s how the story begins.
Back in September of 2013, Hozier had just launched his very first 4-song EP. His indie label, Rubyworks, had a budget of €1,500 to commission a video for the song Take Me To Church. (Our feature on the making of the Take Me To Church video has all the details.)
The video was released in the early hours on September 25, 2013 and posted to YouTube. Excerpts from our feature:
That evening the video was posted to Reddit by atheism-blocker101 with the caption “A guy I know just put out his first ever music video. I’m speechless.”
Niall Muckian, owner of Hozier’s label, Rubyworks saw that the video had been viewed 900 times before he went to bed that night.
Then, overnight, something extraordinary started to happen.
Hozier: “I remember someone texting me to say it was getting 10,000 views an hour. I went home that night and watched the views rise hour by hour.” (Irish Examiner, February 2015)
Hozier: “I got home from doing something and somebody from Australia sent me a message on Facebook saying your video is going mad on Reddit […] It was about a day or 16 hours after it had been put on YouTube.
Somebody who knows me put it on Reddit – somebody called Atheist blocker 101 (sic.) or something – saying my friend just released this video and it went to the front page of Reddit videos and the views were coming in at 10,000 every hour. So that was a massive tipping point. It was just some friend of mine who hasn’t come forward yet; somebody who knows me on Facebook posted it on Reddit. I’m grateful that they did that. I’ll buy them a pint!” (The Edition, October 2013)
In the early hours of 26 September, a comment was left on the Reddit thread:
“I just spoke to the guy briefly over Facebook. Said thanks for such a great song and video to accompany it. The guy (Hozier) had no idea it was posted here and wanted to thank the OP. So OP good work man (OP=Original Poster)
Rubyworks’ Niall Muckian awoke to 9000 views; 5 minutes later 20,000; an hour later 40,000.
— Dara Munnis (@daramunnis) September 26, 2013
That evening, Hozier posted his thanks for the response to Facebook and the video hit 100,000 views.
Our video for Hozier was released yesterday and just hit 100k!! We're celebrating the only way we know how…in an empty bar in Mullingar.
— Brendan Canty (@feelgoodlost) September 26, 2013
Here’s how the story ends.
Fast-forward 1004 days to June 24, 2016: Take Me To Church became a global phenomenon, the video has received almost 500 million views and Hozier is about to do his first Reddit AMA.
We’d always wondered if Hozier had connected with the Redditor who had posted the video to find out their name and whether they’d had ever had that pint.
So, the day before the AMA, we messaged atheism-blocker101 and invited him to participate in the Reddit event. And waited.
When the AMA was already underway we got his message saying he’d join us. Then, with the help of some upvotes to be seen, this happened:
We were thrilled that Hozier saw the post and responded, that the pint will finally be had and that the mystery was now solved!
Redditors were pretty excited about this post too! They left lots of comments on the thread and it ended up in the top 10 of the Best Of Reddit Comments (r/BestOf subreddit).
It also received the most upvotes on comments for Hozier’s AMA, which in a nice turn of synchronicity, landed on the front page of Reddit just like his video had, 1004 days earlier. Making this story come full circle!
Featured image: Hoziers Guitars