The Marketer That I Used To Know

Gotye, the singer we all know for the addictive, catchy and arguably over-played song on the radio, “Somebody That I Used To Know,” has released a video on YouTube called “Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra.”

For many of us, this sounds like an absolute nightmare.

But let’s face it — we love to hate the song. The two guys in the video, “That Gotye Song,” sum up the thoughts of just about every person who has heard Gotye’s single at least a couple of times. What makes this song unique is that it doesn’t fit the mold of the usual “Top 40 Club Hit.” It’s somber. It’s vengeful. It’s intense. There’s a slight seductiveness to the song that has you listening to it again and again and again.

To be brief, “Somebody That I Used To Know” is Gotye’s tour de force.

Sure, it’s been made of fun of many times.

For example:

There have also been countless parodies and covers that make fun of Gotye’s song.

But you know what they say…. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and this phrase has never been truer in Gotye’s case.

Just through his song, he has been able to enlist a HUGE marketing/sales army. Through these memes, parodies, covers, etc. somehow EVERYONE knows about the man with the painted face that sings about his tortured feelings. Without having to pay a dime for all this Internet publicity, Gotye is the one laughing all the way to the bank.

But what is it about Gotye and his music that makes him so marketable?

First of all, “Somebody That I Used To Know” is a song to which people can actually relate. It’s not a song about “swimming in pools of money” or “partying all day, errday,” — it’s about two people who used to have feelings for each other, but after a rift occurred somewhere in their relationship, they are now strangers to each other. Any angsty teen could empathize. Through this song, Gotye is connecting with his audience on a tangible level, making them feel a little closer to him and his music.

Now let’s talk about the music video. It’s not full of beautiful people and jewelery and alcohol. In fact, it’s none of that. There are two people slowly being covered in paint against a backdrop that is also being covered in paint. It’s powerful but, at the same time, a little weird. It’s a story unfolding in a hauntingly beautiful way, which is why this video is so memorable.

And it’s this uniqueness, this charisma and this personability that launched a thousand tributes to this guy, his surplus of paint and his broken heart.

What’s more is that Gotye is extremely consistent with this really wonderful reputation that he has created for himself.

On his Twitter, Gotye cracks jokes, interacts with his fans and, of course, promotes himself, his music and his tours without being too pushy about it. No, his personal account doesn’t nearly have as many followers as, say, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, but that just says more about who Gotye is. He has an extremely loyal following (his target audience) and so far, he’s been doing just fine.

Gotye has also been experimenting with Google+. He has already held Google+ hangouts in the past and, as he has stated in a recent post, “I want to have fun with circles.” Perhaps he could help Google by using the hangout option more often as a means to connect personally with fans and start a much-needed Google+ revolution.

But above all, Gotye puts his fans first. That’s why Gotye’s new YouTube video, “Somebodies,” could not have been uploaded at a better time. The video shows that, throughout all this “Somebody This” and “Somebody That,” he has been a tremendous sport. This intricate video, with all the snippets of parody and cover videos stitched together, attests to the “Somebody That I Used To Know” phenomenon and puts it in another perspective: Gotye’s perspective. It’s funny, profound, moving and most likely conveys all the emotions that Gotye has experienced as his song took (and still takes) the world by storm. But this video, acting as a big “Thank You” to all his fans, is a guarantee that his song will not be going away for a while.


62 thoughts on “The Marketer That I Used To Know

  1. This is a GREAT article. Thanks for the read. I am fascinated with the phenom as well. I had a buddy in New Zealand show me this song about a year or two ago, whenever this song first hit youtube, and I thought to myself, “This is really good stuff!” This was before the hype and craziness that is Gotye. Ahhh those were the days.

    1. Thank you so much! But indeed it really is fascinating how he just soared in popularity… Ah! You caught on to his music earlier in his career! Lovely! Cheers!

      1. Yeah, absolutely. And Congratulations on being Fresh Pressed! Quite the honor. I was FP about 3 months ago. It really gets you noticed. Enjoy the flood of views and comments.

  2. My friend made me listen to this song, and I found it hauntingly beautiful – exactly that! But I never imagined the song could spark off something like this. I loved your post. Great work, awesomely written. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    1. Same here! πŸ™‚
      I also think that the fact he launched himself looking – mhmmm – very naturally contributed to the success as well… He’s teeth are little uneven, toe nails not really in the perfect shape etc… Sill. Looks good, because looks normal and breaks the rule of singers looking all polished and sorta unnatural.
      Cheers on you being freshly pressed!

  3. We had a friend also who introduced this song to us. He ask my husband to watch and listen to that song in youtube. I thought my husband was not impressed about the video. But when my friend left, he played and watch the video over and over again like 30x a day that my kids 4 years old and 2 like and sing the song with him. lol >this song is now the favorite song om my kid according to him. Gotye has a perfect performance that no wonder it hits about 300 million views in youtube.

  4. I had just watched Gotye’s stitched ‘Somebodies’ yesterday and it is a really great video. Its like a moving collage and shows that he appreciates his fans. πŸ™‚ Great post.

  5. I just heard the music of Gotye this year, and I love it. now I wish I could know all the stories about Gotye including basic musical concepts.
    I guess I just became a new fan Gotye now. hahaha.

      1. Oh no! Haha, I am not one to like memes (Even had a post on it!) but since its Gotye (and i love that song!) I will turn a blind eye. Cheers for this!

  6. Great post! A fantastic article. How interesting…I love Gotye and liked him even before ‘Somebody I Used to Know” (I know that sounds douchey, but seriously I did. He was semi-well known in Australia). I was extremely happy that this talented composer got some good international recognition. And hopefully Kimbra did too. She kicks ass! Check out this vid of her just a cappella with a vocal loop at South X Southwest in Texas –
    The song was certainly a crazy phenomenon. I can’t wait to check out the vid!

    1. Thank you! And don’t worry — I completely admire the bunch that already knew about his music before he exploded in popularity (unlike the rest of us who kind of jumped on the “Somebody” bandwagon, heh). I do kind of feel guilty that I didn’t mention Kimbra anywhere in the post. I love her song “Settle Down.” The girl definitely has a set of great pipes!

      1. Oh no worries, haha it sounds so douchey to be like “i liked him before he got big!”. I think it was easier to have heard of him in Australia, anyway. He only really launched internationally with that song. I’m glad for him though, it’s something that only happens to a handful of Aussie artists!

  7. Without the Gotye phenomenon I wouldn’t still be getting daily visits to my own posts about it – 6 months on. And still I like the original song! Though I do like to restrict my listening otherwise it would be too much. Congrats on being FP.

  8. I was in amsterdam last october when a mate showed me the vedio without any discription of it. At the first few seconds seeing a man naked body made me raised a brow, but i loved it i could’nt stop playing it to all my friends, it was after it start playing on the radio that i realized how much of a sensation it became, i brought his entire alblum just beacus of that one song.

  9. Good explanation on this, and congrats on being freshly pressed! As a music lover, I have to say that I got quite fed up with hearing this song. As a marketer, I just love the case study and the tribute videos made! There even is a fun Star Trek tribute circulating!

  10. This song just refuses to to leave your head. We leave the radio on blast during practice in the morning and we always hear it at least twice. Then I hear it repeated several more times at home.

  11. I discovered Gotye only recently and am already a fan. And I posted the original ‘somebody’ video just a day or two to my own blog and then discovered the video mix he did, too. I love that and the original. He seems pretty down to earth.

    One of my favourite videos of his is the making making of mirrors. documentary:

    Great post, I’ll come back and re-read it soon. Bedtime for me now! (I’m in the UK.)

  12. I really like this inside scoop on Gotye. I was also a huge fan of this song when for awhile (I think I played it out to death though). But reading about the man behind the song and especially hearing about how he tries to connect with his fans and whatnot, makes me more intrigued. Makes it not just “that song” anymore.

    Btw, those photos are hilarious =P

  13. What a great post, and frankly – what a great video. Gotye did do a remarkable job with conducting his rather unexpected (or so I expect?) success. Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. hah! fuckn gotye. i honestly avoided watching the video or listening to the song until very, very recently. the fucking thing popped up in my newsfeed like 4 times daily during its hey day and nothing drove me more insane. i started unfriending people who posted it. i listened to it for the first time not too long ago and despite myself, it was definitely catchy.

    1. It really was almost impossible to avoid it… I guess it still is now! I took a break from Gotye after having heard it too many times, but when he uploaded the “Somebodies” video, the song stuck again. There’s no escaping it, haha!

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