OK GO’s most recent music video, “Upside Down & Inside Out” is pretty stunning. Seriously, watch it now:
What makes the video particularly interesting is the fact that it premiered on Facebook, not on YouTube. In fact, a visit to the band’s YouTube channel yields only a snarky prompt to watch the video on Facebook. Devoted listeners – and YouTube watchers – may remember that OK GO premiered their phenomenally impressive video, Here it Goes Again on YouTube, back in 2009 – a testament to the video site’s critical importance to musical acts, and their importance to YouTube as a driver of traffic.
A few days ago, AdWeek interviewed the band’s lead singer/music video coordinator, Damian Kulash, and pressed him on why the group would make such a high-profile departure from what had become the standard for internet video:
The band has had several high-profile beefs involving YouTube over the year, but Kulash decided to keep things positive in his explanation today to Adweek:
“With each video, we’re trying to find a new creative challenge for ourselves, and the launches feel the same way,” Kulash said. “The stars aligned with Facebook this time, and we were excited to try something new. A decade ago, we fell into a great thing, making our own videos—we found both a new creative outlet and new connection direct to our fans, but it was only possible because we were willing to experiment with new ways of reaching people.”
Viewership is fragmenting, and YouTube is not the completely dominant force it once was. Viewers will go where the content is, and in this case – as in many other cases – Facebook has become the place to post film trailers, home movies, and music videos, either instead of or in addition to YouTube. According to the New York Times, Millenials now get much of their political videos from Snapchat clips, rather than YouTube reels:
Best known for photo and video messages that disappear soon after they are delivered, Snapchat is making a big bet in 2016 by trying to break into the news business at a time when the industry is in turmoil.
Facebook is, of course, not just resting on its filmic laurels. Business Insider reported that Instagram is courting advertisers more heavily, by changing video upload parameters:
Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram has doubled the length of its video ads to 60 seconds as part of its continuing efforts to siphon advertising dollars from television.
And YouTube! Moreover, Facebook is clearly grooming Instagram to take a parallel place in the video space alongside the core Facebook site, starting with newly-implemented video view counts.
It’s compelling to see how quickly brands, advertisers, and viewers will jump to new platforms. GoPro, whose brand exists as much in its videos as it does in its cameras, could easily “port” its audience from YouTube to Facebook or even just its own site. As I’ve written:
GoPro’s fan-generated content need not exist on YouTube. Facebook has proved that users will upload to whatever platform is easiest, and GoPro’s loyal fan base – now incentivized by weekly prizes – will become a real part of the company’s advertising model. Uploads will yield more views, which will spur more uploads.
And for OK GO, who seems to have decidedly left YouTube in favor of Facebook in the name of exploring “new ways to reach people,” the medium certainly seems like it is, in fact, the message.
Disclosure: I own shares of Facebook. But I don’t own a GoPro.