Copyfight has a good post about the OKGo phenomenon. OK Go, for those who don’t know, is a band from Chicago that could be largely classed as alternative, but it may well be part of the new geek rock. What makes OK Go unique is that they’re a Web 2.0 band, having embraced YouTube and the YouTube generation. This geek-savy has catapulted the band to geek fame and they’re officially an online phenomenon, perhaps achieving similar iconic status as the I Love You guy, All Your Base Are Belong To Us, and the Numa Numa dance. OK Go’s brilliant videos are a definition of the Web 2.0 do-it-yourself ethos. The videos are freely available online in YouTube, such as the wonderful Here it Goes Again, and my favourite, Million Ways.
The videos have spawned hundreds of fan interpretations of their favourite band. After all, nothing much is needed to replicate this, only four people with lack of self-consciousness and a video-recording device. Upload it to YouTube and you have a bona-fide Internet phenomenon. Look at the first version and the second of the fans interpreting the Million Ways choreography.
Perhaps I’m dazzled by the hype, but to me there is something deep happening here that goes beyond geeky teenagers embracing a fad. While this may have many interesting implications to media, new media, free culture and how we view our content, phenomena like the OK Go videos exemplify why I believe strongly that Viacom has made a mistake by suing YouTube and Google. Viacom made handsome profits from two shows that are a success because of YouTube: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. There is considerable danger for Viacom that these two products will become tainted by the suit, and loose their edge and “coolness” factor. Viacom are like Metallica during the Napster trial. Metallica may have been right in legal terms, but they became associated with the establishment, lost their edge, and have not recovered since.
Whatever one may think about the legal arguments in Viacom v Google, there is the true danger that a Web 2.0 revolution against the media conglomerate could spell disaster for them. I smell a settlement somewhere.