OK Go has left EMI and will re-release its latest album, “Of The Color of Blue Sky,” on its own Paracadute Recordings label.
The group has another viral video hit on its hands, but the latest came after a public flare-up over an EMI policy that prevented the band’s fans from embedding the YouTube video on other sites. Singer Damian Kulash had an op-ed in the New York Times about the policy’s impact on the band’s career.
For all the attention it has received lately, OK Go has few sales to show for it. “Of The Color of Blue Sky” has sold 25,000 units since its release on January 12, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Individual tracks from the album stand at 30,000. However, there are signs that the latest video has boosted sales. Last week, digital album sales went from 1,000 to 3,000 and individual tracks rose from 1,000 to more than 7,000.
Now an important experiment begins: Can OK Go achieve the same or better success without Capitol’s infrastructure? Its odds are good. If anybody can do it on a shoestring, it’s OK Go. Radio was not a factor. Press and publicity, which can now be outsourced, weren’t deciding factors. Distribution was important, but only after the fact.
Through its wit and hard work, the band alone is responsible for most of its success. The band’s creative, cheaply made videos are the reason people know OK Go, and they don’t need EMI for those. All they need is a video camera, a YouTube account and an internal policy that allows fans to share the video.
As Kulash wrote in a 2008 op-ed for the New York Times, “A good idea is still more important than deep pockets.” The band is in control now. The Internet loves good ideas. Let’s see what happens.
Here is a joint statement from the band and EMI, e-mailed by an EMI rep, in its entirety:
“OK Go, the band whose inventive internet campaigns and self-directed music videos have set records and won the band a GRAMMY(r) Award, and EMI Music’s Capitol Records, the band’s label since 2001, have agreed to part ways by mutual agreement.
OK Go has formed their own independent label, Paracadute Recordings. They will take on all distribution and promotion functions for their latest album, Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky, which was released in January.
“We’d like to thank the people at EMI Music who have worked so hard on our behalf,” said OK Go singer Damian Kulash.
EMI Music said: “We’ve really enjoyed our relationship with OK Go. They’ve always pushed creative boundaries and have broken new ground, particularly with their videos. We wish them the greatest success for the future.”