High Schoolers Turned Pornhub’s Infamous Drum Riff Into a Meme Worth Detention

The three-second jingle before every Pornhub clip is a masterclass in musical composition

Before campuses were padlocked and large gatherings prohibited to help curb the spreading coronavirus, one budding drummer used his packed high school rally as an opportunity to perform a touching, passionate and deeply recognizable piece of music: the Pornhub Community intro.

The abrupt performance clearly struck a chord with the audience, which instantly erupted with applause and glee. The shaky recording quickly went viral on social media, prompting a few media reports, which alleged that the student in question, a born hero, had been suspended for his expert rendition of the pornographic jingle at a school function. The latest update I encountered suggested that, after some deliberation, the young man was let off with a mere warning. Online, meanwhile, the talented instrumentalist has been hailed as a legend.

Before I continue, I want to quickly provide some background information for anyone unfamiliar with the musical composition at hand. As you can hear in the embed below, every video uploaded to Pornhub by a community member is introduced by a concise but pungent snippet of drums and bass. Therefore, if you spend even a short amount of time scrolling through Pornhub, previewing a few sultry clips, your ears will be swayed by the tune again and again.

Accordingly, anyone who tunes into Pornhub with any regularity would likely recognize the jingle if it were played in public, hence why in the viral video above, the high school audience was so quick to roar and huzzah after hearing only a few seconds of the distinct beat. “You hear three seconds, and you know exactly what it is,” confirms Matt Sutton, drummer for Arms Akimbo.

Now, I should note that others have performed the jingle, even at crowded school events, before the young man in this most recent viral video did. In fact, playing the tune, either on drums or bass, has become something of a meme. “We love seeing how people worldwide use our drumbeat,” says Chris Jackson of Pornhub. “It has definitely grown to be a cultural touchpoint for people, and as a brand, it’s always cool to see this happen completely organically.”

What seems to make the jingle so resonant is how, in response, we collectively discern the theme, then are able to giggle about how we all know exactly where it came from. “It’s just, hey, you all know what this is, because you’re all on there, too,” explains adult industry veteran and longtime drummer Steve Volponi. “The reactions are over-the-top because the kids are slipping it past the teachers, and they know that the teachers are on there, too. If a teacher reacts, the kid can call them out on it.”

The drum beat in particular, however, has admittedly been performed before, in considerably different scenarios. “Rosanna” by the legendary rock band Toto (of “Africa” fame) features a strikingly similar pulse, and Sutton deems it a “really simple beat,” one that could easily appear in a wide range of musical compositions.

This combination of drums and bass that plays before every Pornhub clip inspires a feeling that would be described as anything but simple, though. Volponi declares that Pornhub nailed the tune by producing something genuinely cheesy and porn-y, which he says could have been an unintended result of the nonexistent music budget that most adult producers have at their disposal.

But the magic behind the Pornhub jingle goes even further than just sounding porn-y. As an arresting 2009 study suggests, even just thinking about a related tune can conjure up rich memories of your past. “Music is a very emotional stimulus,” psychology researcher Richard Harris explained way back then. “It’s autobiographical in that we remember events from a long time ago with strong emotion.” 

Many of us have both deep memories and strong emotions tied to our early viewings of pornography. We remember our favorite long-lost videos, anxiously looking over our shoulders as we Googled “boobs” on our family computers, exploring our budding sexuality and early kinks. Through music then, the Pornhub jingle is able to bring all of that right back. 

And if anything deserves cheers and shouts of approval, being reminded en masse of our enduring and incomparably special relationships with porn by some dude rocking out on the drums certainly fits the bill.