Would the band OK GO (you know the guys from the treadmill video) exist if net neutrality didn't exist?
That's the question that was at the heart of a presentation given this afternoon at the "Music, Technology, and IP Policy Day" by Future of Music Executive Director Jenny Toomey. Toomey laid out how OK GO managed to go from relatively unknown indie band to Grammy Award winner, Jay Leno playing, mass market conquering super band.
OK GO started its climb to stardom by filming a $20 video of the band doing a fun, but slightly dorky, dance to one of its songs. The band posted the video on YouTube, and asked the general public to submit their own video versions of the dance. The video inspired a raft of video responses that featured everything from lego men to topless men performing the dance.
OK GO followed the original video with its now famous treadmill video that pushed the band to a new level of stardom. As Toomey pointed out, it's hard to imagine an OK GO existing on an Internet where big telecoms are setting up tollbooths to charge web content providers for faster service.
Toomey gave her definition of net neutrality: "It means that artists retain more control," Toomey said. "They don't have to maintain the relationships they had to before to reach their audience."