Viral Wedding Video Boosts Song Sales and Google's Ego

By July 30, 2009

As part of YouTube's monetization strategy, the video site has made the most of its media fingerprinting technology to identify songs and other copyrighted content on its users' content. Offering viewers a link to purchase the med

ia for download is a way to supplement YouTube advertising revenue.

This strategy is showing that the site may have the right idea - on the slight chance that a tagged video goes viral. With the recent view explosion of an offbeat wedding video in Minnesota, the couple exchanged the classic Wedding March for an upbeat song piped through the church's speaker system instead. The video is longer than five minutes, stretching to the full length of Chris Brown's "Forever," but has been viewed over twelve million times.

Not surprisingly, this popularity has spilled over onto Brown's purchased song downloads, linking from the video's page to iTunes or AmazonMP3music video, as well as his music video for "Forever." According to the Google Blog's article on the "JK Wedding Entrance" phenomenon, the click-through rate is twice the average for "Click-to-Buy" overlays on the site.

Chris Brown's song has moved back up the charts since its release one year ago, recently reaching #4 on the iTunes store and #3 on Amazon, coinciding with the popularity of the video. In the same article, Google compares its success to that of Monty Python when they uploaded their content onto YouTube last year.

This seems like a strange comparison for Google to make, since this recent boost in sales was not initiated by the copyright holder, but an independent content creator. Jill and Kevin did not use the song to increase the popularity of the song, and they did not use it to sell copies of the song either. In comparison, the Monty Python channel was created to promote material and generate sales, successfully so.

Despite the conflation, the rise in "Forever" popularity does highlight the power of freely available content to drive sales of paid content.

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