Currently, we’re several thousand feet in the air, jetting to Austin for South By Southwest. Which gives us time to whip up a blog post about all the exciting stuff that’s happened over the last couple of days.
On Monday and Tuesday, Ok Go’s Damian Kulash and Andy Ross took a break from writing material for their next album to come to Washington, D.C. and hobnob with members of Congress in support of Net Neutrality. Kulash also testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the importance of the open Internet to musicians and fans. Perfect timing, too, considering FMC’s Rock the Net campaign turns a year old this month.
A Hill briefing and meet-and-greet took place on Monday afternoon, with Kulash and Ross telling their band’s story to a room full of reporters, net neutrality advocates and Congressional staffers. Senator Byron Dorgan even popped by to say hi to the boys and talk a little about how net neutrality fosters innovation and freedom of expression, artistic and otherwise.
Then Kulash and Ross grabbed a pair of acoustic guitars, propped themselves on a Senate witness table and rocked two songs, including their Internet hit, “Here it Goes Again.” It was one of the oddest things you’d ever see, but they sounded awesome, and the “crowd” ate it up. You get the impression this isn’t an everyday occurrence in the august halls of Government.
The following day, Kulash, Ross and FMC Policy Director Michael Bracy swung by Rep. Ed Markey’s office to talk about Net Neutrality for a possible segment in a documentary about the subject. Markey recently introduced a bill which broadly outlines what needs to be done to protect net neutrality. (have a look at it here.) He and the boys discussed how a hard working band like OK Go benefited from posting a homemade video on the internet and watching it take off — all due to open web structures. Jokes were told and hands were shook, then it was off to the HJC hearing room for Damian’s testimony.
Kulash delivered a “slam dunk,” describing his band’s climb to success (aided tremendously by the Internet.) He also presented three video clips, played straight off the web, to shore up his claims. Members seemed impressed that the video for “Here it Goes Again” has received more than 35 million views since it was first posted.
“If people wonder whether the music industry will benefit from Net Neutrality they can look no further than us,” Kulash said. “There is a real consensus with us that Net Neutrality is good for music. I’m here to ask Congress today to preserve Net Neutrality and the future of the Internet.”
Also testifying were Net Neutrality advocates from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Christian Coalition of America.
We’ll post a link to even more photos from OK Go’s Hill tour as soon as we can upload them to Flickr, which should be soon. In the meantime, feel free to make this one your new wallpaper.
Check out the whole hearing by clicking this link.