Quick thought for the day. You know OK Go from their music videos -- treadmills, paint, marching bands -- and their recent break from beleaguered

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OK Go's Damian Kulash On Why 50 Million Treadmill Fans Don't Buy CDs

Quick thought for the day. You know OK Go from their music videos -- treadmills, paint, marching bands -- and their recent break from beleaguered label EMI. Now let's take a look at a few OK Go numbers, courtesy of our friends at Nielsen/Soundscan:

196,000: Number of units sold of OK Go's 2002, self-titled debut.

50,000,000: Number of views received for the video to "Here it Goes Again" off their 2005 sophomore album, Oh No

271,000: Number of copies sold of Oh No

38,000: Copies sold of January's Of the Blue Colour of the Sky

I chatted with OK Go frontman Damian Kulash this week in preview of their set at Sasquatch! on May 29. I'll post the rest of the interview next week.

Five years ago, would you have thought it to be reasonable that if you got 50 million people to watch your music video, maybe a million people would buy your record?

I'm trying to figure out when my thinking about these things sort of shifted. At this point, we definitely don't see our videos as advertisements for some separate product. I think that's sort of one of the problems with the model in general. People are so tied to the notion of record sales as the fundamental building block of a musical career, that they're blind to the fact that that is the one part of the music industry is in fall.

The entire music industry seems to be in free fall when the only metric you use is record sales. The videos we make are every bit of a creative product as our songs are. We certainly hope people will buy our records. It's not like their sole purpose is to promote this separate, interesting product.

Certainly that's not how people saw videos in the entirety of the MTV era, when a video very clearly was an advertisement for the CD. I can't tell you exactly when my (thinking) shifted.

Do you think the reasons that views of videos like yours haven't transferred to sales in the same way as the MTV era is because when people want to get their OK Go fix, they get it for free online?

That might be the case. I think the reason things haven't transferred into sales in the millions, is because nothing does. We sold the same number of records, roughly, the first week of this album as the first week of our last album. Our last album debuted somewhere around 140 or 110 on the charts. This one debuted on the top 40 of the charts. It's three times higher on the charts with the same amount of record sales. Nothing is selling that many records.

I think people who love the video watch the video. They're not people who buy records. The people who watched MTV, you could call them a self-selecting group, or you could call them a Viacom-selected group. That's not 60-year-old women, but 60-year-old women do love treadmill dances.

 
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