OK Go's Damian Kulash on music, collaboration, and net neutrality

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Continuing on our series of videos from last year's Open Video Conference, we got a chance to talk to OK Go's Damian Kulash about how he sees his world of music and the implications that digital delivery has had on his career. If you don't know OK Go and are interested at all in viral video, you should. They've made some of the most-watched videos on YouTube (we're talking 46 million views on just three videos) and have been parodied many times over by their fans.

The big breakout for them came from a video with a simple concept--get some treadmills and choreograph a dance to their song "Here it Goes Again."

From there, it was obvious that video was more than just an advertising tool--it was another way of communicating to fans. It was another way of collaborating, being closer to, and finding new audiences.

In their video "This Too Shall Pass," they managed to get nearly 28 million views in just over a year. It probably helps that it was one of the craziest Rube Goldberg machines ever, but it says a lot about their knowledge of what people want to click.

In the two short videos we filmed with Damian, he talked about how the idea of what a band produces has changed over the years, his own musical roots, learning and growing with fans, and how to approach making new music. Damian also spoke to us about the importance of net neutrality and how the digital space isn't this thing that you just go to when appropriate--it's melded with the physical in many ways, and we need to acknowledge that.

On music and collaboration:

On net neutrality:


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Hi there! I'm a video editor for Red Hat and have proudly spent most of my life as a geek. Or maybe it's a nerd. Either way, I know what I like and I like it a lot.


Awesome post Colby. When Kulash talks about putting all the energy into recording a song, it reminded me of how similar it is to open source projects.

A lot of time and energy go into a variety of open source projects--and the big milestone is a typically a major release. That's just like recording a song. If the music industry embraced song recordings as a milestone rather than intellecual property or "the piece of art" as Kulash describes it, we might be able to overcome some of the issues around the payment model, music sharing, and many others.

Great article Colby!

Damian rocks - great write up. You might be interested in our film <a href="http://kck.st/reNHSA" title="protect your freedom of speech">Barbershop Punk</a> about <a href="http://barbershoppunk.com" title="net neutrality">net neutrality</a> and the various freedom of speech issues raised by the film.

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