Panic! At The Disco & Viddy: Fortuitous Discovery or Stealth Marketing Deal?
(UDATED) The news that Panic! At The Disco is asking fans to use mobile video editing and upload app Viddy to create bits of media from live shows to be assembled into a video has put Viddy on the industry's radar. But does Viddy stand out as an exceptional tool for fan involvement or is this a stealth marketing deal that hasn't been officially announced?
Panic! At The Disco asked fans to submit video clips from their upcoming tour using Viddy, a downloadable mobile app that basically takes 15 second video clips, offers some alteration options and then distributes them on social networks. One of the members states in their Viddy announcement that, "we're teaming up with our friends over at Viddy" to do this project. And all the music and tech blogs and news sites post because Panic! At The Disco are kind of a big deal and Viddy is a new service.
Viddy iPhone App Demo – DailyAppShow
So is Viddy, available via iTunes with more mobile options to follow, a good tool for music marketing? Yes, if a lot of people start using Viddy. It's a pretty cool little app with a lot of features for altering one's clip and then distributing it via popular social networking platforms as one can see in the above demo video.
But its power as a marketing tool will be based on whether or not Viddy itself becomes a popular platform because folks have been uploading little concert video clips to social networks for years and they generally suck. They're really only cool if it's you sharing an experience with your friends or if it's something outrageous that can be captured in 15 seconds, like a cop beating someone who makes a lot of noise in the process.
Viddy launched last month as the "Twitter for Video Mobile App" emphasizing short, constricted bursts of communication that will become almost entirely meaningless when disconnected from social media conversations that are hard to follow. Though they probably didn't mean it that way. They are now more widely referred to as the Instagram for video focusing on the success of Instagram as a mobile photo app that allows for sharing across multiple social networks. And that seems a more accurate comparison.
But do you remember when people used to share those short shaky mobile clips from concerts on YouTube and how awful and annoying those were? Maybe they still do. Maybe you loved them. But unless a whole lot of people want to use Viddy and Viddy itself becomes a widely used platform, the fact that you can now do things to your little video clip before sharing them doesn't seem to really move the game forward.
So why is Panic! At The Disco so excited about Viddy? And how did they make friends over there? Did they really discover the app on their own and have management reach out? Or did Viddy approach them for a stealth marketing deal? I'm voting on the latter due to my belief that when the timing is perfect for a celebrity marketing move, then a deal is in play. So what do you think?
UPDATE: I heard from both Viddy's CMO Evan White and the CEO and Cofounder Brett O'Brien with assurances that this is not a stealth marketing campaign. Here's what White had to say:
"I wanted to let you know that we were approached by Panic at the Disco to help with this 'Music Viddy', its not a stealth campaign nor a commercial relationship. Their management reached out, looking to use our tech to create the crowd-sourced music video and we thought it was a cool idea and a fun use of our service. In other Viddy news, we recently passed 500k users (in exactly 6 weeks)."
So, despite my cynical nature, I can believe that Panic! at the Disco were simply checking out apps, as people are known to do, came upon Viddy and set things in motion. Also, it sounds like Viddy is building critical mass with user growth so that's a great sign for their future!