OK Go: ‘Making money from YouTube is like finding change in the street’

Band's manager says revenue from site does not equate to a business model

Ok Go have said that making money from YouTube is not a business model for bands.

Digital Music News reports that the Chicago troupe’s manager, Jamie Kitman, told the SF MusicTech Summit that trying to make revenue from the video site was like “finding change in the street”.

OK Go have received widespread plaudits for the use of music videos, including their 2010 promo for ‘White Knuckles’ which featured the band and a collection of well-trained dogs, and garnered over one million YouTube views in its first 24 hours of being posted online.


However, Kitman said that it wasn’t a viable way for musicians to earn a living. “I can speak to an artist who gets a lot of traffic, which is OK Go,” he said. “And I would say that ‘trickle’ is the operative word, in terms of revenue we receive from places like YouTube and VEVO.”

He went on to add:

The YouTube revenue is so small based on how many streams we’ve done that I would say it’s not a business model, it’s like finding change on the street.

Kitman – who added that developing relationships with major advertisers wasn’t an option for “developing bands” who didn’t already have “175 million downloads” – also suggested that musicians weren’t getting the financial benefit of streaming services. “Our old label [EMI] has a deal with VEVO, and perhaps they get paid and then don’t pay us on,” he said.

OK Go aren’t the only musicians trying to find a way of monetizing their art. Yesterday (January 20), Field Music’s Peter Brewis revealed that he only makes five thousand pounds a year from being in a band.