Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Weezer's YouTube Trade: We'll Star in Your Videos, You Help Us Sell Music

Weezer had a big hit on YouTube a couple of years ago with “Pork and Beans,” a video that featured some of YouTube’s biggest stars. For its encore the band is inverting the strategy: The YouTube stars make their own videos, and the band appears in their clips.

You should see many of them today, when YouTube has agreed to feature a dozen-plus videos from the campaign on its homepage and the YouTubers who star in them run them on their own “channels.”

It’s a savvy play that should work out nicely for everyone: The band, which is promoting its new album, “Hurley,” gets in front of an audience the size of a late-night talk show. The YouTube celebrities get more eyeballs, which they can turn into dollars with Google’s (GOOG) revenue-sharing program. And YouTube, which isn’t charging for access to its homepage, gets buzz and a showcase for other brands that might pay for its service.

Here’s the thumbnail description of the stunt from Ben Patterson, whose DashGo distribution company helped set the stunt up:

All the YouTubers get whatever Partner revenue they earn, get homepage placement and can leverage Weezer + our social marketing channels to promote themselves. Plus for a lot it was fun chance to perform with, joke with or whatever with Weezer.

From a numbers standpoint – their aggregate subscriber count, inclusive of end card plugs for Weezer and the new album Hurley hit about 10 million people. Which is about 3x a late night or morning performance audience.

And here’s a sample of the collaborations the band and the YouTubers have put together, via Auto-Tune the News:


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”