Happy last day of April or, as it’s better known on the internet: “It’s Gonna Be May” Day. Thanks to a 2012 meme gone viral, on this day each year, the *NSYNC song “It’s Gonna Be Me” starts to see a spike in streaming. If the data from the past few years is any indication, today and tomorrow, May 1, promise to be no exception.
Chances are, you’ve seen the meme of this unofficial holiday: Over a black background, *NSYNC’s Justin Timberlake sports his classic blonde curly locks and a knowing smile. Text above his head reads “IT’S GONNA BE” and below his chin, “MAY.” It references “It’s Gonna Be Me,” released in 2000 when *NSYNC was at the very top of the pop game and before Timberlake’s successful solo career. The lyric was often misheard as “May” thanks to Timberlake’s notorious pronunciation of “me.”
According to database KnowYourMeme, the “It’s Gonna Be May” meme was first uploaded to Tumblr in 2012. Ever since, Timberlake’s annual arrival on your feed has meant two things: that spring has officially sprung and that the song in question is being played on repeat.
The song grew in popularity between 2014 and 2018, charting a 587% increase in streams over the four years. Its first big annual boost came on April 30, 2014, while the meme was still somewhat new: President Barack Obama posted a picture of himself with Timberlake at the White House with the caption “It’s gonna be May.” That very same day, streams of the song spiked 101% from the daily average. The next day, May 1, 2014, streams rocketed 191%. So began a pattern with streams rising on April 30 and then surging on May 1.
The trend continued in 2015, when plays increased 93% on April 30 and 172% on May 1. In 2017, the streams increased 44% on April 30, and then 134% on the first of May. Last year, on May 1, 2018, “It’s Gonna Be Me” saw a 195% increase from the daily average.
Can 2019 streams surpass last year’s totals? It seems likely. Even though the song is nearly two decades old and memes have evolved, it’s clear that listeners are happy to play along each and every “It’s Gonna Be May” Day.
Get ready for May 1 by streaming “It’s Gonna Be Me” below. For more *NSYNC, stream the band’s official Top Tracks playlist on Spotify.