The making of ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’ uploaded on YouTube by Sony Music India has aggregated over a million views in around four days – over 25,000 in the last couple of hours alone. For a film producer, the success of a film depends on its first weekend, and typically, around 70 percent of the films revenues are earned in the first week alone; music is a source of revenue, more importantly, it is a means of generating interest among movie-goers before the film hits the theaters.
While much depends on whether the song appeals to the listener – I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since I began – and it is quite difficult to predict what will become kvlt (that is, cult) and go viral.
Here are a few things I thought Sony got right:
- Internet first: I don’t watch Tamil films, so I would probably have never heard the song had it not been released online. The communal nature of social networks and the propensity to share things that people find interesting gives the song a wider audience. If the song clicks – and it has – people share it, and ‘Kolaveri’ has been trending on Twitter today, leading to more people asking questions about it, and joking.
- The Making Of: This is something I feel most media houses don’t do enough of. I remember spending half a day at Delhi leg of the first season of India’s Got Talent, and there there was some great behind the scenes content – reactions of contestants, bloopers, judges out-takes – which I felt were worth sharing online, but eventually was junked. The execs from Colors whom I spoke with there appeared to be least interested in using it, which was a shame. This Kolaveri video has that same raw feel to it that any making-of or unplugged recording has, which allows the viewer to connect with it more easily than the fantasy that a song-and-dance film song creates. I think more channels and film businesses should do this. You’ll probably see more buzz around Kolaveri once the film-based video is also published.
- Lyrics: I quite liked the way they added the lyrics to the song, making it easier to some of us who don’t understand Tamil or even the colloquial references to understand what is being said, and more importantly, spread the word by asking friends who understand Tamil what Kolaveri means.
- Caller Ringback Tone Integration: This is where the money is going to come from for the label – repeatedly during the song, there is information on how the songs of the movie Three can be set as a caller ringback tone. While we don’t know the numbers (we’ve written to Techzone for info), it will be interesting to see the conversion rates between online views and mobile CRBT subscriptions.
What they can do:
- Co-creation: given how many people have now heard the song, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a part of common conversations (like the phrase “We are like this only”). There’s more – the word kolaveri – which the Internet informs us means killer rage, lends itself to meme’s depicting anger, thus again increasing the virality of the content. For example, see this, this and (via @BarnabyHM) and this (via anantha). I’d say they need to create a Kolaveri website featuring some of this work, and allow it to go viral.
Will this mean that more people will watch the movie? Perhaps not outside the audience base that watches Tamil films. Will this mean that more people will subscribe to its CRBT? Maybe. I’m tempted. What is obvious, though, is that more people know about the song and the film because it has gone viral.