“Weird Al” Yankovic, the king of parody music videos, just released a new album called Mandatory Fun. For his launch strategy, he released eight videos in eight days (#8Videos8Days), each premiering on a different site or YouTube channel. It resulted in Mandatory Fun becoming the first “Weird Al” album to reach number one on the Billboard charts, the first comedy album to achieve that feat since 1963.
The campaign started with the release of “Tacky,” his take on Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” on Monday July 14th and ended with “Mission Statement” on Monday July 21st. And, Yankovic’s weeklong video-release campaign appears to have paid off for everyone involved, as the buzz surrounding the barrage has increased subscriber rates and overall views for participating YouTube channels across the board. This success is rooted in the consistency of video releases, major pushes on social media, partner cross promotion, timely interviews, and a genuinely clever idea.
These changes in daily subscriber rates and daily views were tracked over time using ZEFR technology.
The first video, “Tacky,” was released on July 14th as a Nerdist.com exclusive. On the following day, Nerdist uploaded the video to their official YouTube channel, increasing their average subscriber growth rate from 666 new subscribers per day the previous week, to 2,474. The channel grew from an average of 2,474 views per day to 572,173. (Note: “Tacky” has since been taken off of Nerdist’s channel, and now lives on AlYankovicVEVO.)
The second video, “Word Crimes,” a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” was released on July 15th on the AlYankovicVEVO YouTube channel. The sixth video, “First World Problems” premiered on PopCrush.com on the 19th and was also uploaded to the AlYankovicVEVO channel on July 21st. “Mission Statement,” the eighth and final video was released on July 21st on The Wall Street Journal. On July 22nd, the video was uploaded to the AlYankovicVEVO channel. Over the week his average subscriber growth went from 656 new subscribers per day to 13,195 and his channel view growth went from 154,441 total views per day to 2,107,130.
“Foil,” a parody of “Royals” by Lorde, was the third video to be released. It was uploaded to the CollegeHumor YouTube Channel on July 16th. Over the next few days their subscriber growth rate went from 7,866 new subscribers per day in the previous week to 12,298. The average view growth rate also doubled after the “Weird Al” video was posted, jumping from 2,674,575 new channel views per day to over 5 million.
It is important to note that some of these views may be attributed to another popular video that was posted to the channel a few days before the Yankovic release, however, ZEFR data indicates that the view growth is correlative with the spike in subscriber growth after the launch of Yankovic’s video.
Yahoo and Fan Upload
The fourth video, “Handy,” a parody of “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea was released on the Yahoo music blog on July 17th. They do not have a YouTube channel. However, a fan uploaded a copy of the video to YouTube on July 18th and currently has 1,346,630 views.
Funny or Die
“Sports Song,” the fifth video premiered on the Funny or Die website on July 18th. It was not uploaded to their YouTube channel until July 20th. Since the 20th their average subscriber growth rate has gone from 1,189 to 1,118, but their views have increased from 261,768 to 284,834. Perhaps this dip in subscribers and slight jump in views can be attributed to the two day window between the initial release and YouTube release. It could also be because “Sports Song” is an original, parodying a genre rather than a contemporary tune.
AmazonMusicNotes.com and AlYankovic YouTube Channel
“Lame Claim to Fame,” the seventh video was hosted on AmazonMusicNotes.com and on the AlYankovic YouTube channel (different than the AlYankovicVEVO channel) on July 20th. Since the 20th, his average subscriber growth numbers have increased from 524 the week before release to 2,009 new subscribers per day. Average views went from 43,157 channel views per day to 270,355.
The Power of a Coordinated Video Campaign
Eight videos in eight days released on six websites and five YouTube channels. ZEFR data shows that this strategy helped to increase subscriber and view stats for four of the five participating YouTube channels, two of which were his own. That is no easy feat to accomplish, but Yankovic managed to pull it off with spectacular results.
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