British Band Finds Viral Success with “Greatest Hits of YouTube” Video

This YouTube video was doing the rounds last week, and was initially brought to my attention via Twitter. Essentially it’s just a montage of “the funniest” videos from around YouTube, but it has attracted almost 2.2 million views since it was posted on September 13th — 700,000 more than when I first viewed it on Thursday.

What interested me, however, is the fact the video was created to promote material by British band Hadouken. The video is sound tracked by their new single, M.A.D., and features links to buy it online from download stores such as iTunes. It may not be the most original from of promotion, but millions of people have now been exposed to the band’s music, the majority of which had likely never heard of them before watching. By comparison, the official video for the track has received under 200,000 YouTube views.

Speaking with me last week, the band’s guitarist and creator of the video, Dan Rice, described how the band was looking for interesting (and cheap) ways to get their music heard. “Our music doesn’t really have much of a chance of getting on mainstream radio, so we have to think of other ways to reach out to new fans,” he said. “This seemed like a fairly fun and creative way of doing it rather than going down boring traditional advertising routes, which we can’t really afford and no longer really engage the young people that are into our music anyway.”

Rice said the inspiration for the video came while the band was recording its new album, during which he spent a great deal of time online. “I saw the video of [trials cyclist] Danny MacAskill which was getting lots of views at the time and featured a Band of Horses track. It had 10 million views and I just started thinking about how, even though they were already an established band with a large fan base, loads of people must have been hearing them for the first time whilst watching that video,” he said.

The movie was edited and posted in two days using a MacBook laptop and iMovie — video editing software that comes bundled with the majority of Apple machines — essentially costing the band nothing. In terms of sales uplift, Rice says it’s too early to tell what effect the video has had. In terms of awareness, however, he’s already noticing results.

“Views on all our normal music videos and [streams] on sites like MySpace have gone up, so it has definitely raised the profile of the band,” he said. “Our music isn’t to everyone’s taste and I’m sure there are lots of people watching it who love the video but hate the track…but if we can pick up a few new fans, then that’s great.”

What’s more, it appears the viral effect of the video is only just getting started. On Thursday, when I first viewed the video, it had just shy of 1.5 million views. At the time of writing this morning, it has attracted a total of 2.2 million. It was picked up by the Guardian’s viral video chart on Friday, and has been featured on the Time magazine site as well as Huffington Post in the U.S.

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