Thing a Week 14 – Flickr

December 22nd, 2005

This is Super Special Video Edition of Thing a Week. Some of you will no doubt be watching this on the new video iPod you got for Christmas – the rest of you, maybe you shouldn’t have married a cheapskate. I won’t explain too much about it here, except to say that it’s an example of what Creative Commons licensing makes possible. I was able to do this without calling any lawyers or receiving any cease and desist letters, because all these photos were published on Flickr with CC licenses that let me know it was OK to use them this way. No doubt you’ve finished your Christmas shopping already, but if you forgot to get something for The World, maybe you should take a moment to CC license something you created and release it into the wild…

Enough! Here it is: Flickr

100 responses to “Thing a Week 14 – Flickr”

  1. […] Jonathan Coulton’s Flickr video has been making the blog rounds. It’s a music video made up of CC-licensed Flickr images, whose tags match the lyrics. […]

  2. […] As we start 2006 in earnest, I must proclaim as the man of the moment Jonathan Coulton. He has been rightly lauded, by me and by many others, for his creative flickr video. He also claimed the number two spot on the Coverville countdown. This places him between William Shatner and Johnny Cash. I’d place him closer to They Might Be Giants than to anyone else, though, were I trying to describe his music. […]

  3. rachel says:

    hey, you used my pies here shot!

  4. JC says:

    Hey there pie lover, thanks for making your photo CC. You know, it’s kind of fun – so far a few people whose photos were used have written comments here or elsewhere. It’s good to know they know this thing exists. A place to get some pie, a dog with glasses, this party’s better than it seems and there’s a small town in the mountains are the ones that I know about, but could be there are more. I’m waiting for the angry person, who is bound to show up any day now…

  5. santino says:

    Hey ! that was my lunch in your weirdeo.
    ha ha
    nice cute song.
    I am glad to be part of it.

  6. Ryan says:

    That is an instant classic. I’ll be watching it over and over.

  7. JC says:

    Hey! Soup with noodles!

  8. LaRsDnA says:

    This is a digital version of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. ( Not the music but the idea of using other’s photos/slide collections to build the lyrics of a song. Very cool. Now all John needs is a 10 yr old drummer and you could be on TV. Or, maybe… you should just keep doing what you’re doing. Thanks.

  9. […] Foto-Armbänder • Foto-Ring • Flickr-Song • retrievr • 1D-Tetris • Popword • Schweine stapeln […]

  10. […] Ist es ein Blog, ist es ein Vlog, ist es Internet-TV? Mir doch wurscht. Ehrensenf ist die etwas andere Nachrichtensendung, die auf sehr charmante Art Neues, Kurioses und Witziges aus dem an Neuem, Kuriosem und Witzigem nicht gerade armen Internet präsentiert. Und ab heute gibt es nach einer Weihnachtspause wieder von Montag bis Freitag täglich eine Ehrensenf-Sendung. Diesmal u.a. mit einem Ausschnitt aus dem schönen Musikvideo zu Jonathan Coultons “Flickr”-Song, der natürlich komplett mit Flickr-Photos bebildert wurde. Pflicht-Bookmark für alle, die einen Breitbandanschluss haben. Abgelegt unter: geklickt […]

  11. Carsten says:

    Great! Just great! Thank you!
    Did you write a song matching to the pics or search pics matching the song?
    Would be glad to see the HQ-Version you talked about. Could you perhaps publish it via Filesharing or something if it is to big for normal Webspace?

  12. JC says:

    Carsten: I wrote in all directions at once – there were some photos I found that I just had to use. Then it was a question of matching it with a rhyme. Sometimes I’d come up with a rhyme that was funny, and then try to find a picture that would work, other times I’d find another great picture and figure out a way to describe it that rhymed.

    I’ll see if I can get the full version uploaded to and then post a link if you’re interested…

  13. Prospero says:

    I couldn’t get the video from your side – BUT – that’s the beauty of the net – I found that someone has put it on Prodigem and I bittorentet there:
    Thank you Jonathan – I loved your Podsafe Christmas Song but this one – frell yeah!
    Ad Astra

  14. New Orleans says:

    This is oddly touching and beautiful. The music makes it happen really. You are a wonderful song writer and do an excellent job evoking emotion through your music and vocals. I mean, your voice is inspiring! This sounds kind of fruity coming from another man, not being typical man-speak, but yours is the kind of voice I enjoy hearing. When I’m not listing to angry anti-government styled metal, I like to relax to folk music, and your songs qualify in that genre. There is heart in this song, unlike Resolutions. I hate to be critical of your talents, but your Things lately have felt only half-hearted. It has to be tough cranking out a new song every freakin’ week. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to on Fridays besides the weekend.

  15. Carsten says:

    Sure! That would be nice. I don’t know yet but I’m definitely interested in the full version.

  16. […] Und wo wir schon bei Bildern von Flickr sind, hier noch ein Musikvideo das mit Hilfe der Tag in der Bilderdantenbank gefunden wurde. […]

  17. Grant says:

    This is a constant favorite at the studios here! Giggles abound. Dwyer and Thumbs Up For Slurpees are phrases constantly repeated between takes! Muchas Gracias. – The Adventures Of Dr. Floyd crew!

  18. […] Etwas spät, aber ich möchte euch das hier nicht vorenthalten. Eine wirklich sehr gute Idee und die Seite des Künstlers bietet noch eine Menge Lieder zum runterladen. […]

  19. along with all the other possitive comments, i would like to add that i get happy when those great background vocals kick in! they are so perfectly smooth and “shiny” at the same time. How did you do that?!

    my little 3 year old girl loves it too. “papa! let’s play the ‘broken finger’ song!”

  20. M says:

    Great Song. Reminds me of the work of the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players Check them out if you get a chance.

  21. Paul says:

    The whole thing is awesome, but the dog with glasses made it special. He (she?) looks a lot like a Corgi I just lost before the holidays. Bittersweet memories seeing this one. There’s something about this sort of compilation that is very powerful – I suspect everyone can relate to at least ONE photo in here.

  22. amy carr says:

    i’m confused.. you like the CC licenses that flickr users put on their photos, and then you reuse them that way, but your sight says this whole blog including the video is under full copyright, not share and share alike.

    my understanding about the CC licenses is that you have to pass the share and share alike status through, so therefore all of your video is actually shareable. but why not make that clear upfront?

  23. JC says:

    Amy: CC licenses are not meant to replace copyright, they actually work together to allow ou to create a middle ground between “all rights reserved” and “no rights reserved.” So all the stuff I do is still copyrighted, but the CC license allows me to explicitly allow some uses that copyright alone doesn’t allow. CC says you can reuse my stuff under the share and share alike rules, but copyright says you can’t just put my song in a commercial for cheese without licensing it from me. I think you’re right though – I could probably change the site to make this a little more clear. I did put the CC license text in at the end of the video.

  24. electrolite says:

    Is there anywhere I can find the lyrics written out?

  25. JC says:

    Elec: lyrics are here.

  26. […] Also of note is his “Flickr” song. If you have ever browsed Flickr (or any other photo hosting site) you will appreciate this song/video. […]

  27. dtriebmos says:

    tctnxfkruw avdtzkmdc sdpnxxyw

  28. Derick says:

    JC, probably your link is broken.

  29. Jerry says:

    I wish I knew WHY this silly little video is so – satisfying. Thanks for making it.

  30. Candyman says:

    No doubt you’ve finished your Christmas shopping already, but if you forgot to get something for The World

  31. […] Inspired by JC’s classic Flickr, and the recently launched JoCoPro, I present you – Future Flickr [quicktime]. […]

  32. Riddy says:

    JC, I discovered you and your music only a week ago, and this particular gem of a song/video two days ago. And I think I know why, as Jerry pondered above, it’s so “satisfying.” To me, personally, it evokes the emotions that accompany those far too few moments in life which give us a true “moment of clarity” as to the simple, inexplicable wonder of it all. Even, or especially, amidst all the turmoil and uncertainty in the world today. Finding a box of old photo albums you’d thought had been lost years ago in a move. My daughter smiling at me for the first time, with her mouth *AND* her eyes. I could go on, but I hope you get the idea.
    Now, get your butt down to Huntsville, AL sometime. We’re a big small melting pot of a town with a curious cross section of engineers, physicists, NASA-types, rocket scientists, and yes: rednecks too, but maybe more importantly, a nightlife crowd starved for someone new, original, talented, creative & intelligent. A touch of “whacked in the head” goes a long way too. If you can’t make it, I’ll be definitely looking for a Vienna show the next time I visit the in-laws in Fairfax.
    Thanks for reading, thanks for the music, and all the best!

  33. […] I wasn’t going to blog anymore before Christmas but I was catching up on my downloaded podcasts and came across this which is simply brilliant. It’s a rather large download (about 17 megs) but worth it. This guy is a genius. He can write a song about anything, even random images. So…start the download, go watch a movie or exchange some gifts and then check this out. […]

  34. Kerrin says:

    I loved this video so much, it inspired me to create The Jonathan Coulton Project!

  35. Flickr Freak says:

    […] In the same spirit of creative exchange, Jonathan has done a song with a video entirely made up of CC licenced photographs from Flickr. […]

  36. […] Check out his video: Flickr […]

  37. CodeKitty says:

    I loved the video a while back, but when I went to show it to a friend today, the link didn’t work. I think you’ve got a broken link. I would love to see the video again. :)

  38. […] It’s a song set to pictures from Flickr. […]

  39. roscivs says:

    I just bought the “Thing-a-Week Two” album with this song on it, ripped the CD to mp3s and stuck them on my mp3 player and have been listening to the songs all week. This song was in my top three favorites on the album, but I didn’t realize what the song was called. Only today did I notice the song’s name was “Flickr” and I realized, “Hey, I bet there are pictures to go with this song!”

    So, JC, when you said, “I also could theoretically post the song by itself I guess, but what a weird song it would be without any images,” the song by itself is beautiful and was a favorite of mine even before I looked at any of the pictures. (I’m downloading the video right now.) Thanks for writing it and brightening so many people’s lives.

  40. […] to blog anymore before Christmas but I was catching up on my downloaded podcasts and came across this which is simply brilliant. It’s a rather large download (about 17 megs) but worth it. This […]

  41. Molly says:

    “Dwyer’s rocking out” and “someone’s grandma” are both private pictures now.
    Don’t they know that they’re stars?

  42. Molly says:

    Also: I would very much like the high-quality version of the video.

  43. Miranda says:

    I’ve been a fan now for almost a year (read about you in the NYTimes), have been to two shows in Chicago at Schubas, and always liked the “Flickr” song, as I am a big Flickr fan/user. Since Flickr just enabled stats use for pro users, I just noticed that one of my photos was linked by It’s a big thrill to see that one of my photos is actually referred to in the song! Thumbs up for Slurpees, indeed!

    Thanks for the music.

  44. Eric says:

    I promise that ‘if your receiving your not gay’ will never be set to private. I love the video and the song. My roommate is the one that found this on line and told me about it. Good times.

  45. Genre O'Neel says:

    Consider your balls ravenously licked. Awesome.

  46. […] verla con mejor calidad, es mejor seguir este enlace, o aquí en google video para descargarla.La […]

  47. Angelastic says:

    I just noticed that (old man working by candlelight) does not seem to be CC licensed, at least not any more. I hope that isn’t a problem.

  48. tasha says:

    recently i emailed you about how i animated your ‘Creepy Doll’ song and how i wanted to animate ‘Re: your brains’ but because this was called flickr i had assumed it wasn’t a song until i came across this page ha and just informing you ill deffinatly be wishing to animate this too!

  49. Tito says:

    Great stuff here! but, for some reason, I can’t watch this video, the download jsut freezes without really beginning :(