Co-opting Viral Hits to Sell More Music

Co-opting Viral Hits to Sell More Music
Nicko Margolies
  • 3 august 2009

The wedding entrance dance video that swept across the internet like a flash flood is revealing some interesting lessons in the business of YouTube copyright claims.  Chris Brown’s song, “Forever” is used without permission in the video and his label could easily have sued or removed the video with a copyright claim.  However, they decided to harness the power of the viral video and install and buy-now link for the hit single, reaping huge rewards in the process.


For the label, it’s all about the Benjamins, but in the future will this tactic encourage inventive re-appropriation of musical material, even beyond the limitations of fair use?  YouTube’s business blog recently discussed the money-making possibilities of such high traffic:

This traffic is also very engaged — the click-through rate (CTR) on the “JK Wedding Entrance” video is 2x the average of other Click-to-Buy overlays on the site. And this newfound interest in downloading “Forever” goes beyond the viral video itself: “JK Wedding Entrance” also appears to have influenced the official “Forever” music video, which saw its Click-to-Buy CTR increase by 2.5x in the last week.

So, what does all of this mean? Despite compelling data and studies around consumer purchasing habits, many still question the promotional and bottom-line business value sites like YouTube provide artists. But in the last week, over a year after its release, Chris Brown’s “Forever” has again rocketed up the charts, reaching as high as #4 on the iTunes singles chart and #3 on Amazon’s best selling MP3 list. We’ve seen similar successes in the past with partners like Monty Python.

[via BoingBoing]

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