OK Go Shows, Once Again, How Content Is Advertising… And How There Are Many Revenue Streams For Musicians
from the needing/getting dept
The band OK Go has made quite a name for itself over the years as a pioneer/innovator in a number of different ways in the music world. The group has become incredibly famous for their videos, each one of which seems to up the difficulty level. Years ago, they had a simple dance video (filmed in one of their backyards, if I remember correctly), which went viral. Then they had the famous dancing treadmill video. There have been a few others, including a massive Rube Goldberg machine, and now they’ve taken it up a notch with their latest video, which was part of Chevy’s Super Bowl commercial for its new Sonic vehicle. They basically used the car — and a massive amount of setup — to have the car help them perform a song:
Of course, beyond just being kinda cool, this hits on a few points that we talk about regularly. First off, it shows how OK Go has continued to do what it set out to do when it freed itself from its EMI contract. Despite their videos getting millions upon millions of views, EMI was too clueless to know how to actually monetize such success. The band figured it could do a better job itself, noting that if you have the fans, there are always ways to make money. The band has also been pretty vocal about being against things like DRM and for things like making it easier for fans to get their music. And, here, they’re making money by getting sponsors to help them create their crazy music videos. This isn’t a first. The big Rube Goldberg video was sponsored by State Farm.
And, no, no one is saying that every band should get corporate sponsorship (though I’m sure some critics will accuse me of saying exactly that!). It’s just that there are all sorts of creative ways for artists to make money these days, and getting some corporate sponsorship is one that gets little attention, but has been growing massively over the past few years. In fact, it was one of the key themes at MIDEM this year, including a fascinating interview of Mark Ronson with Wendy Clark of Coca Cola by Ian Rogers from TopSpin, all about Coca Cola’s efforts in the music space.
One of the key things in this is the recognition that content is advertising. Lots of people have recognized the reverse: that advertising is content… but things really open up when you realize that content itself is advertising. And that’s something that a lot of brands are recognizing by tying themselves to different content creators, and letting them do cool stuff around their brands. I know that some people find this to be some form of “selling out,” but as Ronson points out in the video linked above (and, as I’m sure the folks in OK Go know well) that’s pretty silly. Most consumers today know that artists need to make money, and as long as the brand gives them the freedom to be who they are and do what they do, most fans have no problem with these kinds of deals.