Weird Al Knows How the Internet Works

After nearly 40 years in the music industry, Weird Al Yankovic released eight new songs, which all went viral.

weird al

Weird Al Yankovic has been in the pop music game since 1976, and he released his 14th studio album on July 15th of this year. What’s interesting about Yankovic is that throughout his career, he has always used the newest technologies to promote himself and his work — from MTV in the 80’s, to the Internet and social media today.

For eight days in a row, Yankovic has released a new song and video every day to generate the maximum buzz for his album, and it seems to be working. In addition to releasing new work, Yankovic has been spreading the content around, from PopCrush to Nerdist’s YouTube channel to Funny or Die. Yahoo Screen is even getting in on the action.

Yankovic seems to have a clear understanding of how the Internet works. His new song “Tacky” refers to Yelp reviews, twerking and taking funeral selfies. That’s understandable, given that Yankovic has spent 38 years making parodies. His understanding of new distribution methods served him well in 2011, when a parody of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” stalled during production.

“YouTube let Weird Al announce and distribute ‘Perform This Way’ for free, delivering it to middle-schoolers and Gaga herself alike. Weird Al relied on YouTube, placed himself in the role of the lone amateur, and brought about a better mass-cultural outcome. Produced pop goes online, professional borrows the tool of amateur, and everyone seems to win,” Robinson Meyer, an associate editor for The Atlantic writes.

Weird Al’s longevity could be attributed to his 32-year-long record deal. However, that deal is set to expire after this album. Now Yankovic is considering going to an EP- or singles-based model. And with the new ubiquitous distribution possibilities of video sites and music download services, this may be a very smart move.

“I really don’t think the album format is the most efficient or intelligent way for me to distribute my music anymore,” Yankovic said in his recent AMA. “I highly doubt that I would sign with another label. I guess I might be open to a distribution deal, but… we’ll see.”