One of the most popular online videos of all time has never been directly monetized or followed up on, but that’s finally about to change next month. Update 1/12: The new video is here.
Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance has more than 108 million views on YouTube, second only to the complicatedly popular Avril Lavigne music video for her single Girlfriend. In January, Evolution of Dance 2 will be released.
The sequel has been a LONG time coming. Evolution of Dance was first posted to YouTube in April 2006. Laipply had previously announced that Sonos would be sponsoring Evolution of Dance 2 (see video below), but clearly that’s no longer happening. Meanwhile, he’s kept up a career as a motivational speaker (which is actually what he was doing in the original video; his motivational speaking about life and change includes the dance routine of popular songs progressing through the decades). The Evolution video does not include advertising because the songs are not licensed. While music labels have not made YouTube take it down, that threat loomed over any follow-up project.
A couple weeks ago, Laipply and his new partners and sponsors at PeopleJam and Saveology released Evolution of You, a ElfYourself-like experience where you can upload a picture of your own (or somebody else’s) head to participate alongside Laipply as he dances to seven new songs. But with just seven songs, overly heavy product placement, and none-too-remarkable dancing, my initial reaction was sadness that such a transformative video did not get an adequate sequel. I would embed an example here but I can’t get it to stop autoplaying.
However, the interactive app is just the “tip of the iceberg,” said PeopleJam CEO Matt Edelman, which is planning and brokering the release of EOD2 because it sees synergy with its own efforts to be an online resource for self-improvement. Edelman said the new video will include Laipply dancing to 20-plus songs, and other participatory features will be released alongside it. Edelman is currently taking bids from video sites to be the initial launch host. The Saveology sponsorship includes both a guarantee and performance-based incentives, and the winning video site bid might also include a rev-share guarantee as well, said Edelman.
In some ways, a new Evolution is sure to be an improvement. The original is blurry and has crappy sound; Laipply shot it by turning on a camera in the back of the room before he started a live performance of his inspirational speaking act. Still, you can be assured the sequel’s rigorous licensing process will have taken at least some of the fun out of it; already, in Evolution of You, Laipply is wearing a plain orange shirt, rather than his trademark Orange Crush.