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Ok Go Ditch Their Label

Ok Go have been having many troubles with their recent album launch, all with their record label EMI, so this news may not come as much of a surprise.

For those of you unaware, Ok Go have been at odds with EMI over their first video for “This Too Shall Pass“. The band are the kings of viral video, but EMI has forced them to disable embedding on their youtube videos.

This policy has greatly reduced the video’s ability to spread (fans couldn’t post it on Facebook, for example) and even prompted the lead singer, Damian Kulash, to write an op-ed in the New York Times speaking out against the label’s policy.

When EMI disabled the embedding feature, views of our treadmill video dropped 90 percent, from about 10,000 per day to just over 1,000. Our last royalty statement from the label, which covered six months of streams, shows a whopping $27.77 credit to our account.

Clearly the embedding restriction is bad news for our band, but is it worth it for EMI? The terms of YouTube’s deals with record companies aren’t public, but news reports say that the labels receive $.004 to $.008 per stream, so the most EMI could have grossed for the streams in question is a little over $5,400.

The Need For A Label

This raises the question about whether a band like Ok Go really need a record label any more? Are the restrictions too big a price to pay for the investment?

Furthermore, it raises serious concerns about the long term viability of the big labels. If they enforce such an obviously foolish policy do they not understand the basic principles of the internet? Or worse still, are their business models too entrenched in the strategies of control and restriction to ever adapt to the new environment?

Regardless of EMI’s future, we look forward to seeing what comes next from an unleashed Ok Go!



Coco O'Connor 2:21 pm - 19th March:

Although us DIY’ers sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed at the tasks we must endure daily…and the haunting thought of “if I only were signed” I am encouraged by successful labels act exposing the truth…because ” the truth will set you free.”

Peter Tanham 1:20 pm - 26th March:

Hear, hear!

I just had a look at your site, very cool. Are you using Topspin? How do you find the platform?

- Peter

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