It’s only been in the past ten years or so that an ordinary person can wake up and find himself globally famous due to a viral video. That experience can be pretty shocking, and for some, even life-changing. For some, it’s led to greater things while others are still dealing with the scars of notoriety. Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson were surprised by the sudden fame of their wedding dance video, but they weathered it well.
We rode it for a few days. But then we sort of hit this point where we had to make a decision — we either need to get on this internet-sensation train, or turn off our cell phones and hide in the basement. So that’s what we ended up doing. We really turned off our phones and sent an email to family and friends, who were getting hounded also, that said “We’re going to try to shut this down collectively.” Like “One, two, three, don’t answer the phone.” For the most part I think we’re happy with that decision.
We used the Chris Brown song, which we were uncomfortable with after it went viral. It was a few months after the Rihanna incident. Because we used his song without permission, all of the money from the video goes to Sony Records — and him, basically. They put a copyright infringement on us, but decided to leave the video up, which shot that song up into the top ten even though it was like two years old. So not only did we use a Chris Brown song, but we were making him money. There’s a TED Talk on it, weirdly—an executive at YouTube talks about the whole process and their relationship with Sony.