Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brave new world

I recently posted here about a highly creative music video by the rock group OK Go. The song is a catchy accompaniment to the visual mayhem of an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine that topples lines of dominoes, sends metal balls rolling down tracks, destroys a piano and a television set, plays a musical sequence by clinking silverware against glasses of water and sprays the band members themselves with primary-colored paint from an air cannon.

Stunningly entertaining and heartwarming in its DIY triumphalism, the video has become a huge Internet sensation, with tens of millions of online views. What's more, it's become emblematic of the new world order of the music business as bands increasingly turn to sources like YouTube to promote themselves even as old-school record labels and mainstream rock radio continue their death throes.

The OK Go video has been so spectacularly successful, and so representative of the emerging disconnect between the financial interests of labels and their bands, that it led OK Go and their label amicably to part ways altogether.

The following NPR feature uses the OK Go video as an example of the seismic shift in the way aspiring bands must now do their thing. It also describes the engineering all-star team that worked for free on the Rube Goldberg project and explains why I can't embed one version of the video on this blog.


BG said...

Did I read/hear somewhere that they are performing with the NorthWestern University Marching band?

Ben said...

Close, it's the Notre Dame marching band in one version I posted below. The linking is turned off, but you can click through to watch it on the YouTube site.