Weird Al Yankovic no longer holds the monopoly of the parody and satire genre. There’s a new group in town that has been releasing clever spoofs of music videos on YouTube and making it big.
Here’s how they do it.
1. They pick the top music videos.
The Key Of Awesome is a channel known for their topical parodies. They release a parody video within two weeks of the actual video coming out. The goal here would be to tempt some people who are searching for the original to check out their parody.
This also lends itself to sharing. People will share the parody video as a bonus to sharing the original video.
2. They poke fun at the musicians.
Weird Al did this with moderation, often writing the song about something completely unrelated to the original music. The Key Of Awesome, however, will make specific references to things happening in the life of the musician.
In their parody of Miley Cyrus’s “Malibu,” they call attention to the fact that this is a sign of Miley stepping away from the partying and back towards her country music roots. It also makes light of the awkward public relationship with her father, Billy Ray Cyrus.
3. They put effort into making the song sound just like the original.
The lyrics always line up. The length is similar if not the same. Even the shots are recreations of the original shots in the video. This takes a ton of effort, but it’s worth the payoff.
For this channel and others like it, the key to making a good parody is making it clear that it’s a parody. It can replicate the subject without copying.
Parody music takes a ton of effort and creativity. It can be well worth the payoff, though, and thanks to the efforts of people like Weird Al, the revenue is completely protected under fair use.
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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching YouTube videos or teaching math, he’s getting into shenanigans with his other writer friends.