Pollstar talked to industry reps who thought it was a good question, but as for answers, the jury still seems to be out. Yet, by examining two bands that have something in common – viral video success – but have different backgrounds, some patterns emerge.

OK Go has dabbled in online video throughout its career. A few years ago, the band released an amusing video it created while on tour in which the band’s singer, Damian Kulash, portrayed himself as a table tennis champion. The group also “formed” the Federal Truth In Music Project, an online video archive where the band acts out the lyrics to ditties like “A P.O. Needs A Dollar Amount.”

But it wasn’t until OK Go was videotaped practicing a dance that things really picked up in the viral realm. Admirers from around the world posted their own versions of the dance on YouTube.com, including one reenacted with Lego toys and another by dancers dressed in costumes from a church nativity scene.

So far, the video has been downloaded 9 million times, primarily on MySpace, according to band manager Jamie Kitman. The new video for “Here It Goes Again,” where OK Go performs on treadmills, is already up to 8 million downloads, 5.5 million on YouTube alone.

OK Go was invited to the MTV Video Music Awards to perform on the treadmills live, even though the band was not nominated in any category.

Digital music sales for OK Go have climbed 100 percent every week since the show, according to Kitman, and the band’s second album is currently No. 69 on Nielsen SoundScan’s Top Albums Chart, up from the week before.

But OK Go’s success would not have come from just a viral video or two, according to Kitman, who also manages online fave They Might Be Giants. There’s still the need for good promoters, marketing dollars and putting a lot of gasoline into the engine.

“My short feeling is, Internet activity alone does not break a band,” he told Pollstar. “Particularly in the live realm, it does not make for a profitable tour alone. OK Go has done 350, 450 dates in America. They’ve been on the road for five or six years. … The Internet is a great tool for reaching people and getting the word out, but it doesn’t sell records and it doesn’t sell tickets.

“What’s easy to lose sight of is OK Go, in addition to being a really great band, has sold almost 200,000 of its first record in the U.S. and they had a Top 20 alternative record and MTV2 play and a Top 20 single in England, so it wasn’t like they were a completely unknown commodity.”

Hurra Torpedo, the Norwegian band that tears it up onstage with the help of kitchen appliances, became an Internet star when webisodes of its first U.S. visit became the top download at Ifilm.com. On its heels, the band got a U.S. agent (but no record company) and had a festival/club tour that brought in some fans, but not nearly all of the ones who followed its exploits from home.

Instead, Hurra Torpedo continued to build a U.S. fan base using the oldest formula in the concert business book – touring from the ground up and landing some impressive newspaper reviews and word of mouth promotion along the way.

Even when kids (and adults) love something online, it’s hard to find the magic formula to get them to a live show.

“You have to have other points of contact with people,” Kitman said. “That’s my strong suspicion according to the uncontrolled laboratory testing we’ve done so far with OK Go’s career. Internet is great. Internet plus MTV plus a retail program by your label plus radio is even better.”

When it comes to the Internet, MySpace is still the king, according to the owner of Artist Arena, which handles ticketing for several online fan clubs. Mark Weiss said he believes there are real dollars to be made by having a fandom at MySpace, from Fall Out Boy to Panic! At The Disco to Trivium to DragonForce.

The difference between a cool video on the Internet and MySpace is the latter allows fans to be advocates for the artist. Case in point: this week’s HotStar, which has sold 60,000 records with little promotion.

“This is the first time DragonForce is coming [to the U.S.], but they’re selling out everywhere. They had to move up to the Nokia Theatre in New York. … And I think there’s definitely a correlation from kids in Europe telling the kids in America through MySpace to go see this band,” Weiss said.

The same goes for Trivium, which has a huge buzz in the U.K. because of MySpace, according to Weiss, even though they’re from Orlando, Fla.

“I’m an Internet guy, but I don’t think the Internet in general has done that much to break out new bands other than through MySpace,” he said. “I think you can hype a band up using all these new mediums.

“You can kind of use the YouTube phenomenon and MySpace and build a buzz on a band, but they have to be great live or people aren’t going to go see them.”