7 Day YouTube Views: 1,218,654
7 Day YouTube Likes: 22,577
Bulgaria teased us with anticipation for a long time before finally revealing Bones. A dark, modern track mixing the lyricism of a Kygo track, the vocals of Rag'n'Bone Man and dark tones of The Weeknd.
You already knew that Bulgaria were throwing their weight behind Eurovision this year but Bones is a confirmation of this, the song is high quality and well produced, even the video has clearly had a tidy sum thrown at it - especially when compared with the simplicity of Ireland's video, for example.
As a listener, I 'got it' almost immediately, I'm a huge Kygo fan and this reminded me of something he'd make (although this song uses a vocal hook as opposed to a melodic one). Bones easily passes the 1 minute test, multi-layered, starting with simple lyrics, slowly building up in the "What is life..." section before reaching the climax with heavy beats of "I love beyond the bones" before repeating again with more power the second time around.
Now for a few negatives, whilst Bones is certainly highly contemporary, the tone is so dark that I'm not sure how widespread the appeal will be by the Eurovision audience on the night of the final. Furthermore their look is perhaps so futuristic as to create an emotional disconnect with the audience.
There is also the question of why there are five band members, for most - if not all of the song, a maximum of three voices can be heard at any one time - what will the others do? The more people there are on stage, the bigger the challenge it is to connect with the audience. Finally songwise, I felt they could have done more with the "I love beyond the bones" chorus segment, the build-up was excellent but you can't help feel that a stronger musical hook to go with that beat would have gone down great - as it is right now I feel that the vocals in the chorus are a little too repetitive and don't really elevate the song as much as they could have.
Bulgaria's YouTube Views and Likes are very impressive indeed. 1.2m YouTube Views in 7 days is the 3rd highest of all videos, behind Israel and just a smidgen behind Spain. With 22,000 Likes it's a clear 2nd place behind Israel. However a word of caution before you go placing your bets - we at TellyStats also monitor the 12 hours, 1 day, 2 day and 3 day YouTube stats (and other timeframes), the sharp increase in numbers for Bulgaria suggest manipulation, that the metrics have been artificially inflated - particularly within the first 24 hours. This isn't something we can prove conclusively but we've done this long enough to know the progression of stats over time and to spot when something isn't right. We know Bulgaria have thrown money at every other aspect of this track, it would be no surprise to learn they've also heavily invested in their social media presence including a few dirty tricks to get them to the top. They are not the only country we suspect has done this and we'll reveal which we think they are in due course.
Bulgaria is an absolute certainty to progress through it's semi-final, but while I like the song, I'm not sure any sum of money could make this the winner. In the past few days, the betting markets have push Bulgaria up into 4th most likely to win and I think that's a fair assessment, this is easily one of the top 5 tracks this year, top 3 for me personally. The running order on the night will be a key decider for Bulgaria as well as the direction they take with the staging and costume. In all though, Bulgaria are a strong contender to place come the night of the final.
The official Eurovision team for Bulgaria contacted me personally with their right to reply:
"The sharp increase in numbers for Bulgaria suggest manipulation, that the metrics have been artificially inflated - particularly within the first 24 hours"
We would like to deny all allegations in that direction, because we never use such tactics to boost our videos. One reason is that we don't believe in the effect of paid views and respectively we don't have a budget to do it. Our campaign is focused on getting real and genuine support behind our entries, because that can transform in real votes in the contest. Manipulated views can't. Also, country like Bulgaria operating with very limited finances for the contest has to prioritize its expenses. Allocating funds to manipulate online metrics is not something we have planned in our budget.
We also would like to stress on the fact that there is nothing unusual in the viewers count, especially in the period of time mentioned by you (first 24 hours). In the first 24 hours after the release the song was premiered on ALL big websites and news agencies in Bulgaria and most of the impressions of the video came from these sources.
We have also signed contracts with all local radio stations to rotate the song. On top of that we have a cross-promotion agreement with the biggest commercial TV broadcasters in Bulgaria. If we take into a considaration also the sharp increase of the viewers of Eurovision in Bulgaria in generall, the anticipation after two successful years in the contest, we think that this offers far better explanation of why the song has been so popular, especially in the first week after the premiere.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to clarify the matter.
I then responded:
Thanks for your response, I'll post it as a comment in the article so it can be seen. I do want to point out that Bulgaria has a reputation for being sensitive to criticism and obsessed with winning, you've not done much to dispel that today by contacting me personally...
Have the benefit of the doubt on the YouTube stats if you'd like - maybe they are just an anomaly (perhaps Russia's unusual stats are too). Every country had radio/news announcements on the release of their respective songs so Bulgaria isn't unique in that respect. Also boosting social media numbers can create a buzz that can convert into real votes, people gravitate towards backing potential winners than perceived no-hopers, again, common knowledge really.
I'm glad your campaign is focussed on getting "real and genuine" support for your entry, will this real and genuine support be extended to other countries by your jury this year? Last year your juries curiously awarded zero points to your main competitors, Portugal, Belgium, Moldova, Australia, Sweden and Italy. I'll preempt your response that your jury voted objectively even though it's clearly untrue. It's so overt that it's difficult to regard much of what you say now as credible.
Best of luck this year, I like your song.
The conversation turned a little ugly from there, I made it clear in the article that the suggestion was speculative and couldn't be conclusively proven. However Bulgaria wished to strongly emphasise their refutation of any implication of social media stats manipulation and I am glad to echo it for them here.