Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The face of Viral Video

Pardon me for the possibility of dead horse beating ...

Last weekend's feature film box office receipts illustrate exactly why "viral video" is a terrible business model. Look at the photo atop this post. Have you seen it before? How many hundreds of times? Miss Lohan literally could NOT have been receiving more attention last week - just before the opening of her new film I Know Who Killed Me. Surely, this kind of coverage will get people into the theater, if even to watch a train wreck! But then -

Her movie opens in ninth place. The movie tanked. No one went to see "I Know Who Killed Me", even though it starred one of the most famous (infamous) people alive. All that attention and almost no dollars. And that is my point. Attention and dollars are not the same thing.

This is the same lack of real world results that viral videos brought to OK-Go.

Viral videos can only help an artist if they turn the attention gathered by the free clip into something more real - like a career, concert bookings or paying off that pesky Verizon bill. Attention is great. The audience obviously have to know who you are before they even know they want to buy your concert ticket, t-shirt or music (notice what order those are in). Attention is a good starting point but ...

Only if the audience ends up wanting more. Viral videos are great at grabbing attention, but very poor at turning that attention into the kind of audience/artist relationship where the wallet ever comes out.

Yes, the Lohan movie was terrible (a 7% from Rotten Tomatoes) - but if the prospect of seeing Lindsay as a stripper won't bring people to theaters after this kind of coverage - what chance does some puny rock band have?

Maybe this is just TOO capitalistic and musicians should only aspire to fame and attention with no regard for the concerns of Mammon. If that is the case, then I give you the most famous rockstars in the world - - - prisoners from Cebu Province in the Philippines.

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Good points. But I offer a counter: "I Know Who Killed Me" was described by multiple reviews I read as "surprisingly gory" -- apparently in order to see Lindsay in her full stripper persona (and did she even go topless?), a moviegoer would have to sit through many scenes showing various limbs of hers being severed. Considering that "Hostel II" and "Captivity" recently tanked at the box office, maybe the squeamish scenes were a bit too real for moviegoers who wanted to indulge in the trainwreck?
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