OK Go Kisses EMI Goodbye

Indie Band Seeks Success On Its Own Terms      11/03/10

Buying Choices

YouTube wonder-band OK Go announced today that it has split with its label:

OK Go has struck out on its own. The band has left the EMI family of corporations to form their own enterprise, a homemade upstart called Paracadute. In addition to being humanity’s second most fun word to say (”pamplemousse” was taken), Paracadute is really just a way for the boys to continue doing what they’ve always done. Which is whatever they want. Being OK Go just got a little bit easier.

So please join me in welcoming Paracadute into the world. As yet, there’s no building, no logo, no employee manual. Just the band, some paperwork, and a bunch of insane ideas. Plus two dogs in suits. Exciting stuff.

A word on Capitol/EMI: Neither our lawyers nor their lawyers have any hard feelings and, in fact, the split has been remarkably friendly. There are many wonderful people at the company who have worked very hard on our behalf, and we’ve become very close with them over the years. Even if the band hadn’t signed a non-disparagement clause as part of the deal, we would have nothing bad to say. All joking aside, we’re very thankful, and we wish them all the best.

OK Go has been successful as a band - but not necessarily as a major label act.

Their latest YouTube video, embedded above, has received over 7 million views in the last 10 days.

That's impressive - but their latest album Of The Color of Blue Sky has sold just 25,000 units since its release on January 12, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

EMI was unable to turn the band's viral hit into a traditional best-seller.

According to OK Go's Damian Kulash:

It’s something of a gift from them to let us go. We steer our own ship just fine. The way record labels traditionally work, 95 percent of the things they put out lose money, and the other five percent pays for everything else. So when we you have something like us that’s succeeding, it’s in their interest to keep us. But they can see we can do the job best on our own, when we’re able to be nimble and do what we want to do.

Though the split appears to be amicable, the loser seems to be EMI.

Nobody has figured out how to turn a viral Internet hit, like OK Go, into a mainstream success story.

But EMI appears to have given up on trying - and as more and more attention moves to the Web, their choice look like a dead end.


James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news


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