Viral videos are freakishly random, and extremely difficult to create. But dig into the DNA of the most successful viral music videos of all time, and a few interesting commonalities emerge. That includes a completely open licensing attitude, and oftentimes, serious support from more traditional channels like television.
There's also another twist: virality is often the result of what happens after the video is created and released. And with that, here are 7 ways that current viral phenom Psy effectively added fuel to one of the most viral videos of all time. Most of these come from YouTube head of music for Japan & Korea, John Hirai, who's been at the epicenter of this from the beginning and presented some of his thinking recently at MU:CON in Seoul. It's a case study and a template for anyone who wants to roll the dice...
That includes simply saying yes to any parody, and using YouTube's ContentID to facilitate and enable any variations. Do not block anything, but try to monetize everything (if possible).
A 30-something Korean with a tight suit satisfied an age-old, Chris Farley craving. But whether they're laughing at you or with you, it all translates into good, 'ha ha' virality.
'Gangnam Style' works in any language, it translates because fans don't have to. In fact, the decision to not to translate large blocks of this song worked to its advantage. Elsewhere, artists like Black Eyed Peas have experienced great success focusing on lyrics and titles that are not dependent on specific languages.
Psy's got the horse dance, which is easy to do and a crowd pleaser like none other. Just like the Dougie or any number of infectious dances throughout modern music history.
In the case of Psy, 'Gangnam' was supported by a string of programmed videos designed to further fuel the fire. This has been actively supported, for the entire ride.
Here's where Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun comes in. According to Hirai, the introduction of Braun took 'Gangnam' to an absolutely different and new level that would have been impossible otherwise. Simply stated, if Psy hadn't been slotted onto shows like Ellen or The Tonight Show, the trajectory wouldn't have been as strong.
Psy is now everywhere, whether that means TV appearances in the US, award shows in Germany, flashmobs, speaking engagements at Oxford, or parties with Usher. But he's also doing every deal: on the streets of Seoul, Psy is almost on every other advertisement and sign. Because let's face it: we might still be talking about Psy next year...
uforgotaboutseeding Saturday, November 10, 2012
While all of your "tips" are valid, you've neglected to acknowledge YG Entertainment's huge role in cultivating a KPop fanbase and seeding the video, a precursor to going viral. These two articles tell the fuller story:
Tone Sunday, November 11, 2012
Coming up with forumlas to go viral are so lame...
Do you think Psy sat down end went through all these steps?
And is "going viral" all that matters now? Are the days of making amazing music or music that you feel like making over? It's as though "going viral" is the new selling out - you'll do whatever it takes for success - even following a forumla - literaly.
Please lord, spare me any future gangnam-style videos. The world will be just fine without them.
The Runaway Kantele Sunday, November 11, 2012
Amen! I agree!
longlivetheformula Monday, November 12, 2012
Record labels, radio stations, artists, and SEO techniques have been 'formulaic' for decades, especially in the Top 40 space. Artists can labor in obscurity forever, or they can figure out a way to be heard above the din. Some artists go to shock value often mixed with hypersexuality formula. Others learn the mechanics of YouTube and social marketing, and still others take to the road. Whether you like Psy or not is a minor point compared to the fact he busted KPop on to the world stage.
Interesting how we pass judgment on what are the 'right kind of dues' an artist should pay for a chance of success.
Tone Tuesday, November 13, 2012
"Artists can labor in obscurity forever, or they can figure out a way to be heard above the din."
Haha seriously? You make it sounds as though there's only two options a) follow a formula and strike success b) "labor in obscurity forever"
Give me a break.
spillit Tuesday, November 13, 2012
So what are all the other ways an artist can achieve success—happenstance? luck? wishful thinking? pulling a rabbit out of your, uh, hat? In the end, 99.99% are following some kind of a 'marketing plan formula' which is easily scripted, or they remain unknown. You don't have to like it...
caahvidal Monday, November 12, 2012
Nice tips! I bet comedy. Funny videos mostly end up becoming viral.