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Creator and Artist Stories

Behind the scenes of Weezer’s YouTube community invasion

By Serena Satyasai

Marketing Manager

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blogger is Ben Patterson. Ben is the founder of DashGo, Inc., a digital marketing and distribution platform servicing music, video and podcast content. Clients include Weezer, This American Life and Delicious Vinyl. Last week Weezer launched its new album, Hurley, with the YouTube community.

It all started at VidCon.

VidCon is an event I attended this past July. My company, DashGo, markets, distributes and manages catalogs for indie labels and bands, and the vast majority of our content is audio. VidCon was eye-opening: an army of YouTube content creators--some meeting for the first time following years of online sharing and collaboration--pumped energy into the room. In panel discussions, everyone credited their success to two entities: YouTube and other YouTube users.

One of my clients is Weezer, an alternative-rock band known for hits, including “Buddy Holly,” “Beverly Hills” and “Pork & Beans.” Weezer's always been a fan of innovation and collaboration and is no stranger to YouTube. Back in 2008, Weezer went on a Hootenanny tour, inviting fans to perform alongside them with whatever instruments they could play. Rivers Cuomo, lead singer, co-wrote a song with hundreds of YouTube content creators in a project called "Let's Write a Sawng." And, of course, Weezer invited a number of YouTube content creators to appear in their own "Pork and Beans" video, a video viewed over 20 million times.

Weezer was getting ready to launch their new album, Hurley. Our concept for the band this time was simple. Instead of inviting YouTube content creators to invade a Weezer video, we’d flip the tables. Rather than make our own video a needle in the haystack we decided to build a whole stack of needles. First we all asked our friends and co-workers about their favorite YouTube content creators. We asked fans on Twitter and Facebook who they liked on YouTube. Then I sent an email to the dozens of recommended YouTube content creators letting them know Weezer was interested in participating in their programs. Acting, performance, interview, make-up, comedy--whatever they wanted Weezer to do, Weezer was game.

The response was overwhelming, especially considering I sent the request out six days before shooting was to begin. Two weeks later, the shooting was done and each YouTube partner prepared his or her own video. Weezer wouldn't see anything until the videos went live on 9/14.

We were amazed by the range of creativity. The Gregory Brothers AutoTuned Weezer's "Memories." Weezer got to cover StSanders' "Kiss Shreds,” a band favorite, and the Magic Hugs guys brought them back to their days as a brand new band. Four of the videos made it into the Top 20 chart within 24 hours. We were also featured on YouTube’s Music Tuesday showcase.

Weezer reached more than 10 million folks if you count the aggregate number of subscribers of the participating content creators. That's more than triple the ratings of most late night talk shows. Ray William Johnson alone gets more viewers per episode than Comedy Central's Tosh.0. And best of all, the new album Hurley hit the top 10 on iTunes charts and #1 on Amazon MP3.

Of course, none of this would be possible without all of the content creators who invited Weezer into their channels. A huge thanks to them and their fans for letting Weezer into your house for the day. And we thought you’d enjoy this outtake: