How An Unknown Band Helped Launch The Career Of Another Unknown

I just stumbled across my own Facebook post from January 9th about this Walk Off The Earth video. At the time, I noted that it had an amazing 4.5 million views on YouTube. Now here we are, a little over three months later and the video has an astounding 93 MILLION views. And oddly enough, that's not even the biggest part of the story. Click thru to see the rest of the story...

This Canadian band's novel take on a cover video of a song no one in the United States had ever heard by an Australian artist no one knew has launched that song and artist into the U.S. spotlight. I'm not sure what direct impact it's had on Walk Off The Earth's business (Wikipedia says they appeared on Ellen and sold 187,000 downloads of their version). But the original artist, Gotye, was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live last week (he did a fine job, I might add.). And his song is currently sitting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. And the Alternative Chart. And the Rock Chart. The video for his version of Somebody That I Used To Know has 169 million views.

I can't think of another story even similar to this one. And if you threw this idea out in a marketing brainstorm session, you'd probably be asked to leave. Why? Because it's crazy. And it shouldn't have worked. And it won't work when someone tries to replicate it (which is already happening, don't you worry!). You can't plan something like this. And, to be honest, I'm not sure there's some huge lesson to be learned here. But there are a few things worth pointing out:  1) There is no formula for going viral. The methods and the results are different almost every time.  2) If it hadn't been a great song, then neither the cover or the original would have had any lasting impact.  3) Gotye should buy those Walk Off The Earth folks a beer or something.

NOTE: My apologies if anyone takes offense to the "unknown" references to both Walk Off The Earth and Gotye. As of January, neither I nor any of my friends here in the U.S. were aware of either.