Even though ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ was played 39 million times during the rickrolling phenomenon, Rick Astley received almost no money from it!
By April 2008, it was estimated that at least 18 million American adults have been rickrolled! Rickrolling is an internet meme phenomenon that uses the "bait and switch" technique. A hyperlink is provided which is seemingly relevant to a topic, but then actually leads to the music video of Rick Astley performing his 1987 hit song 'Never Gonna Give You Up.' The link can be masked in a way so that the user will have no idea where it leads until they actually click on the link.
People who have been led to the music video are said to have been rickrolled. Rickrolling soon extended beyond the web, and the video or song has been played disruptively in other situations and in public places, including during the February 2008 protests against the Church of Scientology. On April Fool's day of the same year, numerous uncoordinated instances of rickrolling appeared on the Internet. All the videos on YouTube's front page hyperlinked to the rickroll!
By 2010, the song had been played 39 million times! Despite that, it is reported that Astley himself only received $12 in performance royalties from YouTube. Because Astley did not compose the song, he only gets the performer's share of the sound recording copyright, but the phenomenon did help him make his comeback.