Being A Tight Ass Doesn’t Work
A Harlem Shake Example
Billboard came up with an article on how the wildy successful Harlem Shake is being monetized.
Before I go on, here’s a quick example (or reminder) what the craze was all about.
Basically play the ‘Baaur – Harlem Shake’ song, one person dances by themselves at the start. When the bridge kicks in everyone erupts into dance insanity.
Fun, simple and easy to do. Instant internet sensation.
What Baaur gets out of this
So how is the artist, Baaur, not frantically taking all these videos off the net or forcing the uploader to replace the soundtrack with a stock Mozart tune?
Baaur and friends realize the viral nature of this and rode the wave (they also made sure Youtube was correctly paying them for it). When the above Billboard article was published there were 103 million monetizable YouTube views. So after the ads were all counted and revenues split, Baaur and Co. amassed $83,500. Not too shabby for a few weeks of work.
Psy vs Baaur
Billboard went on and compared Harlem Shake with last year’s viral sensation, Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ (who made $2 million to date).
I think it’s a little unfair to compare Baaur to Psy considering Gangnam style was a song and a professional executed video. Not to mention it’s been out in the field far longer than Baaur has. So who knows, there’s potential for that $83,500 to only go up.
The point is…
Team Baaur was able to see passed the hard lines of copyright and let the people have a little fun with it. In turn, they gained instant recognition. Not to mention, advertising revenue and potential download sales from iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, etc…
Let this be a lesson to the big record labels; there will be times when you have to lay down the law with copyright. If someone is blatantly stealing and benefiting from you then step in. But sometimes you have to think creatively to see the forest from the trees.
Imagine if these four Brooklyn guys threw down the copyright card. Would they have a huge hit? No. Would they be getting $83,500. Hmm…maybe…over the course of a few months with alot of work.
In the end, being a tight ass doesn’t work. And nobody likes a tight ass.