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Video Convergence

06 May

Last weekend, NOLAGirl (resident FEMA trailer survivor and dinner companion extraordinairre) sent me one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Will Ferrell’s The Landord

To date, Funnyordie.com lists the views of this video as 23,177,441. I personally know five other people who were emailed this video by totally different sources. If this number is correct, that is some significant “reach”. In this recent Chicago Tribune article, the proliferation of online video sharing is explored. Clearly, YouTube, GoFish, Dailymotion and others have provided an avenue for amateurs to create and post video. It’s also been a fertile breeding ground for the posting of great past musical performances, like this one:

Seven Spanish Angels – Ray Charles & Willie Nelson

But I digress. I was first exposed to YouTube and GoFish about a year ago when watching American Idol and various performances were “put up” (mostly on GoFish). I’ve watched over the last year as these sites have evolved, now including “channels”, advanced search functions, and “Artists Voices”. There are numerous blogs dedicated to YouTube “diving” (i.e., YouTubedigger.com), finding stellar videos to share with others — be it music, classic TV commercials, movie scenes, home videos or comedy. While the jury is still out on copyright infringement, these video sharing providers claim safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, which limits liability of Web service providers whose USERS are in violation of copyright laws. And, YouTube is compliant with wishes to remove videos when an “owner” requests such. So, for now, it’s all good.

But I digress. What’s really starting to get interesting is the use of these vehicles by established, popular artists like Will Ferrell. Alanis Morisette has the biz a-buzzin’ about her parody of The Black-Eyed Peas’ My Humps. The ever-observant brc sent me an article by Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times that addresses the shear brilliance (intended or not) of Morisette’s video. Hailed as a commentary of the state of music and social ills today, this video was self-produced and with over 6.4 million views to date, has given Morisette more exposure than she’s had in years. I’ve seen it at three different sites, myself.

This is what gives YouTube its real power. It is a forum not just for amateur pranks but also for career reinvention. For Morissette, this video — made at her home on digital video for roughly $2,000 — may transform her persona as much as taking a part in “Pulp Fiction” did for John Travolta.

No doubt you’ve seen the vids, but just in case you haven’t, here they are:

My Humps, Black-Eyed Peas

My Humps, Alanis Morissette

And, to tie it all together:

My Humps, Will Ferrell

It’ll be interesting to see if more artists will go the self-production route and try to market their wares via these on-line web sharing outlets. It’s certainly much cheaper than the glitzy, Hollywood production music videos that have fallen out of favor. It also is a way to gain exposure to a diverse cross-section of demographics, who use and abuse YouTube and it’s competitors, present company excluded. With the challenge of artists to increase “reach” and exposure to the masses, are YouTube and it’s contemporaries a viable marketing strategy?

Your thoughts?

ETA: Found this article regarding YouTube on the Boogie Board, posted by sturgis66. Interesting that now YouTube will begin paying high traffic contributors. Hmmmm. Change any opinions? Maybe Shrew’s right?!? Nah.

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16 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2007 in Marketing

 

16 responses to “Video Convergence

  1. huckleberryfriend

    May 6, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Don’t forget about Blogs. GrayCharles used web resources like GoFish, YouTube, mp3s, media web sites, etc. better than any other web site I have seen. Combine that with intelligent readers and you have a winning combination.

    YouTube has almost replaced TV for me. Yesterday I watched several Doors videos – amazing. This morning I viewed some AI videos from Seasons 1 & 2 and was reminded how fantastic Kelly and Clay were. Now I’m working on a blog post about Moon River and it is a real treat to view all the different Moon River videos on YouTube.

    I’m really surprised Taylor hasn’t made better use of YouTube. It couldn’t cost that much to video a few performances from his tour and post them. As fans, we enjoy all the fan videos that get posted, but many (if not most of them) don’t show Taylor at his best. The Sweet Home Chicago video with Keb Mo is great, but after over a month only has 9,184 views. while Ysabellabrave’s latest video has 16,835 views in 1 day.

    I also think Cellcerts might be another method artists could use better. How about an artist working with a fan club and providing them with a number to call where the phone is placed in an optimal position for sound quality. Maybe its free – maybe fans have to join the official fan club – etc.

    The community that can be created on the web is something so new that artists, managers, PR, etc haven’t figured out yet how to best develop it. I don’t know how the dollars work, but many businesses have been transformed because of the Internet and the music business will be too.

    Could a musician make more money by avoiding major music labels and just focus on touring and marketing via the Internet? Taylor has used the web better than many musicians (GoFish, Rehearsals, GrayCharles) but has really fallen short in development of official fan site, dropping support of GC, poor YouTube use, botched online discussions.

    I would love to see an artist hire an Internet savy viral marketer to develop his/her web strategy. I think fan clubs also need to get better at exploiting all the resources on the web. For example, PayTheDevil created some fantastic original videos but there was no strategy in place to really market them. Where is the strategy to get these videos into Most Viewed, Most Discussed, Highest Rated, etc?

    Ysabellabrave has 4 videos in the top 20 music videos for the month on YouTube. She makes her videos sitting on a couch in her living room looking into a camera/recorder and singing to karaoki music. She says she does this by herself, no PR company, no camera man or soundman, no makeup artisit, no lighting specialist, etc. So if she can put out a successful album or have a successful concert career or figure out how to make a living on the web I guess we can say “Yes, YouTube is a viable strategy”.

     
  2. music maven

    May 7, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Amen, I say to you my huckleberry friend, Amen.

    Tried to stay off the “Taylor train” because it applies to many new or “not mainstream” artists. I think that there is a HUGE opportunity for these artists to market themselves and their music via these outlets. I also agree that you need a “crack” internet team with a plan on getting it viewed.

    I’ve been doing some studying of research regarding “referral marketing”, i.e., word of mouth recommendations for my real job. It is, by far, the most powerful “marketing”. However, artists like Amos Lee, Marc Broussard and yes, even Taylor Hicks have to look past, not have or not need their million dollar account teams to be able to really pursue this kind of strategy. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and it’s easy just to do what’s always been done.

    Somebody is going to figure it out.

     
  3. brc

    May 7, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Great topic MM. While I loved the Landlord vid, I can’t stand Will Ferrell. The Willie/Ray duet was wonderful. I got goosebumps when they started singing together. I mean what a stroke of brilliance to put these two (very different) artists together!

    I agree with both of you. In fact, the phrase “word-of-mouth” was what immediately came to mind when I read your main post. Word-of-mouth has always been one of the most effective marketing “tools” for movies, books, music, TV shows and many other products. The advent of YouTube and other sites like it takes word-of-mouth to a whole new level. I don’t think it’s a matter of whether or not it’s a viable strategy, IMHO it’s an essential part of any marketing plan (at least as far as music goes). Whether it’s directly releasing music or other material to the fans (like Harry Connick Jr.) or creating self-produced videos (like Alanis Morissette), artists need to get and keep their names and their material out there in front of the public using these tools.

    As far as Taylor goes, he could have capitalized on the Boogie’s “Best of” project and provided links on his own site(s) — or better yet, release his own vids of some of the songs from the shows. Also.. the behind the scenes stuff (what little there was of it) that was released on his YouTube channel was fun. He could do more like this (like John Mayer) and I think it could be very interesting to fans and potential fans and maybe give him some much-needed “street cred” beyond his current fan base.

    This whole phenomenon is fascinating to me just from a cultural perspective (taking out the marketing angle). It’s like we all of a sudden have a full cultural library/archive at our fingertips. And like anything… that has both good and bad implications. My son loves Nascar. The other day we were able to immediately pull up the biggest Nascar crashes on YouTube (however once we got there, there were several links that were inappropriate for a 12 year-old). He went to an assembly on disabilities at his school. He came home and had me go to a YouTube link to see a segment from Oprah that they had seen in the assembly so he could talk to me about it. Missed American Idol? Pull it up the next day on YouTube. Want to share your favorite new song with a neighbor? Call it up on demand. The examples go on and on.

    Using the example huckleberryfriend gives of the use of these tools on blogs… I find that these sites have an important storytelling component to them as well. Anyone can add dimension to blogs and e-mails that wasn’t previously possible. You now can tell someone something then you can also show them. How amazing is that?

    So back to the marketing. I think this is a case of “if you miss the boat it’s going to sail without you.” Artists either get on the boat or they get left behind.

     
  4. shrewspeaks

    May 7, 2007 at 10:36 am

    I think now that articles are being written and major corporations are already “advertising’ with uploading snipts (NBC advertisied their woeful “Year Without a Santa Clause” via Youtube long before taking up precious expensive airtime on their own network)the moment may be passing for this medium to be a revolutionary communication tool vs. a line on a tactical plan.

    The brilliance about Morisettes $2000 video is she was “being real” making a parody commenting on the state of popular music…not trying to market herself. Farrell’s video (whether you like him or not) is another example of artistic exploration not promotion. I am prepared to see less of this sort of experimentation and more glitsey glossy, dare I say glittery, uses of this medium. But heck what do I know?

     
  5. music maven

    May 7, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Shrew — while I agree with your assessment of artistic expression rather than promotion to a point, isn’t it all promotion, of sorts? The Morissette article in the L.A. Times talks about how this video may help to “lift” her sagging career.

    While Will Ferrell is not talking specifically about why he chose this medium to put a skit out there, this type of stuff doesn’t hurt his “Blades of Glory” sales or otherwise.

    I tend to agree that we may start to see more “produced” promotional type stuff, but I still see an avenue for lesser known artists, to inexpensively show their wares. Who knows, maybe even Photography or Art Exhibits?

     
  6. shrewspeaks

    May 7, 2007 at 10:55 am

    MM – too funny.

    I agree to that point as long as it all stays free. Local guys and gals doing their best alongside piano playing kittys is at the heart of what make this medium so good right now. It’s like cable access shows of the late 80’s and 90’s.

     
  7. brc

    May 7, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Shrew while the use of YouTube from a consumer/user standpoint is not necessarily a novelty anymore, I think the medium is still revolutionary in its unexplored potential from a marketing and communications perspective. I agree that we are likely to see more slick productions, but my instict tells me that the experimentation has just begun.

     
  8. shrewspeaks

    May 7, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    brc…I hope you are right.

    I guess I see blogging as the medium that big corporations have had the hardest time harnessing the power of for pure marketing efforts. Youtube’s broadcast capabilities are (are / is I never get that correct) more obvious how the uber-marketers could co-opt and own.

    Blogging needs an opionion, view or voice which we all know you do not need to broadcast (or else JackAss would never have been as popular)

     
  9. Podcastin' Cyndi

    May 7, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks for swinging over to my podcast (new one posted, BTW) so I had the chance to find your blog. Wow, what a fun blog – my husband (the podcast musician) is going to drool all over your site. Thanks!

     
  10. music maven

    May 7, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    Thanks for coming by and posting Cyndi. I’ll be sure to catch your new podcast. Hope you and your husband come by often.

     
  11. music maven

    May 7, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I posted an article about revenue sharing at YouTube, up on the blog. Interesting read. Originally posted by sturgis66 at the Boogie Board.

     
  12. shrewspeaks

    May 7, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Repeat after me…

    Shrew is always right
    Shrew is always right
    Shrew is always right…about the total of the bar tab

     
  13. shrewspeaks

    May 7, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    I just read the article…ummm are we looking at the internet Nielsons developing here?

     
  14. huckleberryfriend

    May 7, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    …about revenue sharing at YouTube

    But they don’t publish the rates and keep it very secretive. If there is decent money to be made, I bet several small businesses are started just to make videos for youtube. I might even invest in a digital video recorder and give it a try. Anyone else interested?

     
  15. texan

    May 8, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Madison Avenue must have YouTube in their crosshairs! Any guesses on the life expectancy of YouTube as we know it today?

     
  16. PayTheDevil

    May 23, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Huckleberryfriend, I concur. The internet is this vast and wondrous place that is so underutilized by standard marketing streams. I will proudly admit that my small attempts at viral marketing were bourn out of anger after reading less than positive music reviews.

    People contact me and ask which video we should get behind and promote on UTube, Go Fish, Google, or Yahoo. I have suggested we should select the best videos that represent the artist in the most favorable light. Some discussion ensued and we ended it with the question, “Should we promote video artists that are well known within the Taylor Community (i.e. Best of Boogie Board Videos, Schwartz2, etc)? Or should we find someone that is accomplished at making the little vignettes and hire/ask them to create something that would generate favourable buzz.

    I think the congregation has been well served. The shout-outs during the Go Fish promotion placated most of the “I want to be Taylor’s videographer” crowd. A cohesive and succinct campaign that is supported by public access video will help promote the up coming book release and new single. A coordinated effort to find someone to create such a marketing piece should be undertaken. I do not think the video has to come from the commune. I think it would be refreshing to find an video artist that would create something unique and different.

     

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