OK Go basically became famous because of Youtube. The majority of people who know them, do so because of their highly inventive videos. Now the news is out that OK Go has placed its newest filmed-in-zero-gravity video for "Upside Down & Inside Out," on Facebook. The video's kinda cool. It's shot in zero gravity, which is quite the bumpy ride. In fact, for every hundred minutes on that trip, you reach zero G for several periods of for a total of seven minutes. Either way it's still cool.
What's more interesting to me is the reason OK Go chose Facebook to release its video exclusively.
Adweek, references a Gizmodo article from 2010 blaming those big nasty record labels for wanting a piece of the pie from their videos for not allowing regular people to embed said videos on their blogs. Back in 2010, you see, OK Go were the Peoples' Band. They weren't in it for the filthy lucre, but only for the love. If anybody actually bothered to read the post, OK Go explained quite rightly why EMI, its label, wanted to recoup some of the advancement.
The recordings and the videos we make are owned by a record label, EMI. The label fronts the money for us to make recordings – for this album they paid for us to spend a few months with one of the world's best producers in a converted barn in Amish country wringing our souls and playing tympani and twiddling knobs – and they put up most of the cash that it takes to distribute and promote our albums, including the costs of pressing CDs, advertising, and making videos. We make our videos ourselves, and we keep them dirt cheap, but still, it all adds up, and it adds up to a great deal more than we have in our bank account, which is why we have a record label in the first place.
Fifteen years ago, when the terms of contracts like ours were dreamt up, a major label could record two cats fighting in a bag and three months later they'd have a hit. No more. People of the world, there has been a revolution. You no longer give a shit what major labels want you to listen to (good job, world!),
and you no longer spend money actually buying the music you listen to (perhaps not so good job, world).So the money that used to flow through the music business has slowed to a trickle, and every label, large or small, is scrambling to catch every last drop. You can't blame them; they need new shoes, just like everybody else. And musicians need them to survive so we can use them as banks. Even bands like us who do most of our own promotion still need them to write checks every once in a while.
But where are they gonna find money if no one buys music?
Perhaps not so good job, world? LOL. Despite OK Go's gee whizz attitude, they want to eat, like anyone else. It's why they went from being The Peoples' Band at the time of the above post, to happily taking money to shill for Chevy, in a Super Bowl spot. They want the cash as much as they want as many people as possible to see their ads. Who can blame them?
It's why their move to release their new single on Facebook exclusively is so curious. For one thing, OK Go has built up an audience on Youtube already. An audience of half a million subscribers, with more than 216 billion views. Are they really short sighted enough to leave them behind for Facebook? For another reason, despite Facebook's impressive numbers of registered users, a million teens are leaving it every year, not wanting to be in the same social space as mom and grandma. They'd rather hang out on Snapchat, etc. Another reason why I find the Facebook move curious is because of Facebook's own history of screwing over brands. Sure, Facebook is touting a 55% ad revenue sharing plan with content owners. But that's the same amount you'd get on Youtube. According to Billboard though "Facebook's pitch also includes the ability to get eyeballs in the Facebook News feed, whether or not a person subscribes to the content owners' channel."
Sounds good, right? But for how long? Facebook has a history of dangling the money carrot in front of brand's noses only to yank it away. Remember when Facebook was made available to everyone and the brands painstakingly built up their audience only to have Facebook change its algorithm so people who followed the brands didn't see the ads? And then Facebook came in and said Nice ad you got there. Be a shame if no one saw it." And then promptly started charging them extra for "reach."
Facebook's news that it will now begin paying content creators should be met with a slow clap at best. They've been enjoying free content (and all that ad revenue surrounding it) for almost a decade. More people would rather share a music video than an ad, so it's almost an inevitability that Facebook will pull the same tactic. Remember, when a service is free, you are the product. Perhaps this is why Facebook is banning posts from Tsu.co. If you are unfamiliar with Tsu.co, it's a social media site that actually pays you, the user, for your content. According to ABC, "the social network tallied up the ad revenue it earned against your update and passed a percentage back to you." Of course Facebook wants to ban that. Beyond it being a competitor, that's one hell of an incentive to try out an ad-supported social media site.
Back to OK Go. They may look as if they want to take the high road, appeal to the grass roots, and follow the new technology where it goes, rather than deal with that whole business side or whatever, but I sincerely doubly that. Facebook, like any other business, is cutthroat.There's no way they want their stock to drop, so they must keep their bottom line up. If you really think Facebook is nobly going to start sharing their ad revenue with content creators without making it up somewhere else you've been in zero gravity too long.
By the way, OK Go may have posted a youtube video asking you to check out their new song on Facebook, but if you hate Facebook as much as I do, have no fear. They still have their video on Youtube regardless of what they say. It's on the google owned Vevo.