Really stand-out music videos are becoming a rare commodity these days, but don’t tell that to alternative pop band OK Go. The four piece band originally from Chicago was an internet sensation back in 2006 with their ingenious music video for “Here It Goes Again” featuring the band members doing complex choreography on multiple treadmills. (I’ll embed the video below) The video became a Youtube sensation, registering close to 50 million views and earning the band a Grammy Award for Best Short-Form Music Video in 2007.
Well, the low-budget, clever music video gurus are back with a wonderfully entertaining video for their new song “This Too Shall Pass RGM Version,” featuring the mesmerizing machinations of a Rube Goldberg machine. Check it out! (After the video we will explain a little bit about what a Rube Goldberg machine is and where the concept originated.)
That is just a fantastic video, and a great song too!
As mentioned earlier, the device in the video actually has a name. No, it’s not the board game Mouse Trap gone wild, it’s called a Rube Goldberg machine. Here is Webster’s definition of a Rube Goldberg machine:
“n. a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to achieve a simple operation.”
Rube Goldberg was an American inventor and cartoonist who became famous for his cartoons depicting complex devices that performed simple tasks. You can go to this great site to read more about Mr. Goldberg and to see some of his fabulous cartoons.
If you’re thinking “hey I could do that,” well there just happens to be a national Rube Goldberg machine contest sponsored by the Theta Tau Educational Foundation. You can find out more about this annual contest here.
Here is another video that’s a great example of a Rude Goldberg machine in action:
A great irony to the story is the fact that OK Go’s record label originally didn’t want the video for “This Too Shall Pass” to be embeddable! A band that owes 95% of their success to the virality of a shoestring budget music video on Youtube releases a video that can’t be shared?!? Band leader Damian Kulash Jr. was understandably upset and he addressed the issue in an article he wrote for the Op-Ed section of the New York Times titled “WhoseTube?.”
Here are a couple of excerpts:
But this isn’t how the Internet works. Viral content doesn’t spread just from primary sources like YouTube or Flickr. Blogs, Web sites and video aggregators serve as cultural curators, daily collecting the items that will interest their audiences the most. By ignoring the power of these tastemakers, our record company is cutting off its nose to spite its face.
In these tight times, it’s no surprise that EMI is trying to wring revenue out of everything we make, including our videos. But it needs to recognize the basic mechanics of the Internet. Curbing the viral spread of videos isn’t benefiting the company’s bottom line, or the music it’s there to support. The sooner record companies realize this, the better — though I fear it may already be too late.
CLICK HERE to read the entire article, including some actual numbers – like a 90% decrease in “Here It Goes Again” video views.
As I’m guessing you have surmised by the fact that the video is embedded above, Kulash and OK Go won their argument and EMI has enabled embedding on the new video. So show your support for the band and for embeddable videos by watching it 100 times! (I watched it close to twenty times before I even knew about the controversy!)
Here’s the original video that set the internet on fire back in 2006/2007: