Record company embraces use of its music in YouTube wedding video, makes money

The video of a couple's awesome dance-number wedding entrance I posted last week featured Chris Brown's song "Forever," used without permission. Instead of suing or having the video taken down, Brown's label opted to add a link to buy the track to the page. And made a truckload of money.

So many of the record industry giants are publicly traded companies. Why aren't their shareholders howling for more stuff like this — which actually makes money — and less pointless Grand Guignols to extract a couple grand from some hapless teen, alienating a future customer and her family and friends for life?

This traffic is also very engaged — the click-through rate (CTR) on the "JK Wedding Entrance" video is 2x the average of other Click-to-Buy overlays on the site. And this newfound interest in downloading "Forever" goes beyond the viral video itself: "JK Wedding Entrance" also appears to have influenced the official "Forever" music video, which saw its Click-to-Buy CTR increase by 2.5x in the last week.

So, what does all of this mean? Despite compelling data and studies around consumer purchasing habits, many still question the promotional and bottom-line business value sites like YouTube provide artists. But in the last week, over a year after its release, Chris Brown's "Forever" has again rocketed up the charts, reaching as high as #4 on the iTunes singles chart and #3 on Amazon's best selling MP3 list. We've seen similar successes in the past with partners like Monty Python.

I now pronounce you monetized: a YouTube video case study