The New York Times yesterday had has a story about a rock version of Pachelbel’s Canon, a song that drives me a little nuts because it is so cliché at this point. The story talked about a guitar arrangement and a kid who copied it, filmed himself doing it, and how this has become an online sensation, having been viewed more than 7 million times. The guy behind the piece calls himself “funtwo.”
Like a celebrity sex tape or a Virgin Mary sighting, the video drew hordes of seekers with diverse interests and attitudes. Guitar sites, MySpace pages and a Polish video site called Smog linked to it, and viewers thundered to YouTube to watch it. If individual viewings were shipped records, “guitar” would have gone gold almost instantly. Now, with nearly 7.35 million views — and a spot in the site’s 10 most-viewed videos of all time — funtwo’s performance would be platinum many times over. From the perch it’s occupied for months on YouTube’s “most discussed” list, it generates a seemingly endless stream of praise (riveting, sick, better than Hendrix), exegesis, criticism, footnotes, skepticism, anger and awe.
You can see why the movie and record industries are paying attention to online distribution. And you can see why we are encouraging nonprofits to create a lot more video and multimedia material – get one thing at this level (millions of online views and a pick-up in the Times) and you have done more for your organizational communications than a lifetime of press releases.