OK Go is one of the most successful bands in YouTube history.
Yet despite more than a hundred million plays, YouTube plays are hardly generating any substantive revenue for the group. “I can speak to an artist who gets a lot of traffic, which is OK Go,” manager Jamie Kitman told a SF MusicTech Summit audience last week. “And I would say that ‘trickle’ is the operative word, in terms of revenue we receive from places like YouTube and VEVO.”
“But the YouTube revenue is so small based on how many streams we’ve done that I would say that it’s not a business model, it’s like finding change on the street.”
Earlier, the band also admitted that downstream recording sales are also rather paltry, despite the utterly massive views and virality of its videos. Which means that Kitman and the band are focused on monetizing huge advertising relationships with the likes of Chevrolet and State Farm, because that’s where the money is.
Which sounds like a great thing to pull off, though Kitman seemed to view this more as a freak accident than a viable model. “It’s great to get Chevrolet to sponsor your video – a million dollars to go make something insane – but the precedent, the first step is to get 175 million downloads, and not everyone can do that. And it doesn’t describe a model for developing acts. I wish I could do that for every one of my acts, but it’s hard even with all the time in the world.”
Even worse, there’s money sitting somewhere over at VEVO, but OK Go isn’t seeing it. Which sort of sounds like what we’ve been hearing lately about VEVO’s shady accounting.