YouTube, Universal Plan Premium Music Video Hub (swipe)

March 9, 2009

Direct swipe from

YouTube and Universal Music Group are contemplating an alliance by which the former would build a music video hub for the latter.

According to The Wall Street Journal, YouTube will also provide ad sales support and a platform to distribute Universal video content to other sites.

The pending project’s been tentatively dubbed “Vevo” and has been underway since last year. People familiar with the matter claim it is in advanced stages of production.

Financial details of the potential liaison were not revealed, but the partnership represents another attempt by YouTube to step up its premium content offerings.

It would also avail YouTube a fresh opportunity to monetize music videos. In January it broadened an existing ecommerce effort that enables users to buy tracks featured in a video they’re watching. They typically have the option to purchase direct from a record company, from Amazon or iTunes.

This is interesting for quite a few reasons. Universal was the first of the major record distribution companies to strike a deal with YouTube in order to get paid for their content. In these trying industry-times, many record labels are trying to find any way possible to make a dime.

Years ago, Yahoo! used to be a very popular site for fans to go watch promotional music videos. Yahoo! used to use the music videos and then run commercials between viewings. It was Universal Music Group, upon realizing the ad-revenue Yahoo! was making, that decided they should get a portion of this money that Yahoo! was making. Taking a fraction of a cent per video-stream, this became a profitable (and important) venture for Universal, and other majors shortly followed.

Taking a similar approach with YouTube is important not just to major distributors, but to artists as well.

At this time, indies are kind of having to bite-the-bullet and this profit-sharing system isn’t available… but hopefully that will change for all in the near future.

This actually produces an interesting question: are music videos driving traffic to these websites, OR are these websites helping to sell downloads / CDs by having these music videos available for viewing? Who’s helping who more?


MySpace Music vs YouTube: Who Really Drives More Impressions… (swipe)

February 18, 2009

Eff it. I’m just going to cut and paste the entire article below…

MySpace Music v. YouTube: Who Really Drives More Impressions…

The music video is enjoying a newfound renaissance, thanks largely to YouTube. Once upon a time, music videos were played on MTV, VH1, and BET, and that was that. Now, music fans are calling the shots online, and the music video is arguably bigger than ever before in its history.

But how many views are we talking here? Universal Music Group is the most viewed channel in the history of YouTube, with 3.4 billion views on a stock of more than 9,200 clips. Sony Music and Hollywood Records own the second and third-place slots, respectively, and ChrisBrownTV, JonasBrothersMusic, RCARecords, and even michaeljackson are not far behind.

Suddenly, the brouhaha between Warner Music Group and YouTube makes more sense. People love music, and even a diversified site like YouTube draws serious traffic from music-related clips. But take a look at MySpace Music, and something interesting emerges. Because it turns out that listening levels on MySpace Music eclipse comparable viewing levels on YouTube, often by a factor of 7-to-1.

The discovery was offered by exclusive data partner BigChampagne, who recently ran some numbers for Digital Music News. Just last week, the top song on YouTube was Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” generating more than 5 million views over seven days. But every day during the week, the top song on MySpace (Gaga’s “Just Dance”) generated more than 5 million listens. Essentially, the same volume, in one day instead of one week.

A broader look reveals another wide gap, albeit on a varied group of tracks. The top ten songs on YouTube totaled nearly 24.5 million daily views last week. But on Monday alone, the top ten songs on MySpace generated roughly 13.4 million listens.

The difference is glaring, and critical knowledge for those crafting online marketing strategies. Still, the comparison does raise apples-to-oranges problems. MySpace Music features audio streams, and YouTube offers video clips – different formats with different rules of engagement. Moreover, each site offers different usage rules and experiences, also critical aspects of the analysis.

Perhaps most importantly, YouTube videos require a direct request, and YouTube does not string videos together. MySpace, on the other hand, fires up a song based on page load – whether an artist profile or personal profile page. That means lots of involuntary listens, with songs often strung together into a short playlist before an ad stops the action. In the case of YouTube, a more hands-on, voluntary commitment is required.

But if the game is “impressions, impressions, impressions,” then MySpace wins, hands down. Even if those impressions are less meaningful, non-visual, and ultimately less engaging.

Here’s the link:

News: Artists move to YouTube and other new media

February 11, 2009

Major labels have definitely taken note of how powerful of a driver YouTube can be for their artists. Because music videos are such a huge driver of traffic to YouTube, a deal was worked-out with major labels and distribution companies such that they would be compensated for their content. Hell, if YouTube gets advertising revenue for the traffic they see, why shouldn’t artists and labels get compensated for their content being used, right?

Below is a good article that outlines how artists and labels are utilizing social media and websites such as YouTube to get signed to deals, as well as a way of promoting their work. In this day and age, independent artists should find ways to use this new cost-effective technology in order to get their music heard. Don’t rely on a major-label deal, nothing is owed to you. Build your own fan-base, and use what you have in front of you.

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — Musicians and managers are turning to BlackBerry phones and YouTube videos to solve a problem that just won’t go away: illegal downloads of digital tracks.

At a time when 95 percent of music downloads are pirated, with few signs it will let up, artists are finding alternative ways to profit from music online, sometimes bypassing music companies such as Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music Group.

Check out the rest of the article here:
“Lavigne, Radiohead Move to YouTube as Illegal Downloads Persist” (taken from

News: Live Nation to acquire TicketMaster?

February 11, 2009

It’s looking like Live Nation may acquire ticketing giant, TicketMaster for… $2.5 billion dollars (*puts pinky to mouth*). Who says there’s a recession?

If this deal goes down, this will be a merger of the largest online ticketing specializer (TicketMaster) with the largest concert promotions company (Live Nation). Live Nation is already a scary entity in itself, controlling a plethora of major concert halls and venues across the country. To top it off, if this deal goes down, the genius that is Irving Azoff will be in charge of not only the largest management firm for talent but also a top exec at the combined giant that looks to become Live Nation Entertainment.

Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see how all this plays out. If this happens, major labels might have a tough time signing acts, as Live Nation Entertainment will have a bargaining chip that no other management company or record label could ever offer… venues!

For a better run down on what this means, check out the NYTimes article here.

News: Virgin Megastore closes flagship location…

January 16, 2009


So it was announced earlier that Virgin Megastore in Times Square (NY) was closing its doors. The location will be replaced by… a FOREVER 21. WTF?!? This just goes to show the nature of this business and industry right now…

This closing does more than just affect the 200 store employees, it also has affected jobs at the corporate offices in Southern California, as the Times Square location did far and away the most business out of any of the Virgin stores. Be on the look-out for more store closings throughout the year.

At one point, the Virgin chain, in 2007 had 11 stores. It’ll be down to just five (two in California) locations.

For more information, check out the New York Times article here

People aren’t buying music anymore. Transworld (FYE) continues to close down smaller locations every year, Circuit City is in the dumps… and Borders Books & Music might be on the heels of the aforementioned retailers.

What happened to music fans? Where are the “career” artists that people flock to? What happened to people going to retail on Tuesdays and getting excited about music? Was it the fault of the majors who perpetuated the singles-driven model of having only one hit on a record, and then rushing to release an album so fans would buy it? Was music-overpriced in the late-90s and early 2000s? People begged for a lower price-point, and Universal obliged, helping the competition to do the same…

My opinion? Music became too much like water. It’s everywhere, people take advantage when they can, and the people willing to pay are few and far between.

Seeing Virgin go through these changes because people I know are losing their jobs, but also because it’s a scary time in this business.

With that said… it’s also exciting, and only the smart will survive. Something will change, and I plan on being a part of it.

Tech News – iTunes embraces 3-tier pricing

January 7, 2009

Well, it was reported in the LA Times that iTunes will finally do what the major labels have asked (for years) and embrace a 3-tier pricing scheme.

Within 6 years, iTunes has become an industry-leader in music sales revenue (usually close to #1 trailing only Wal-Mart). Starting in April, it looks like there will be three prices for song downloads — 69 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29. It looks like the top-tier price will be for superstar singles, while the lowest price point will be saved for developing and indie artists. To go along with the new pricing-strategy, Apple will also be able to get rid of the anti-copy software on tracks.

Per the LA Times article:

Apple said it had persuaded the major labels to drop their insistence on copy protections that restrict the number and type of devices that can play songs bought through iTunes.

It also received permission to sell downloads directly to the iPhone 3G via AT&T’s high-speed cellular network.

Personally, I think it’s about time iTunes did this, particularly if iTunes will let labels and artists choose their own pricing. I know some people might not like the thought of change, and this probably detracts (a bit) from the “simplicity” of Apple’s current model… but I think this benefits smaller artists, and might make customers more prone to purchasing music they might not be completely familiar with! The growth of digital downloads has grown exponentially over the years since iTunes’ first launch, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing up in 2009 or the near future. What are your thoughts?

For more information, check-out the full LA Times Article.

Music News: Vinyl Sales Double in 2008

January 5, 2009

After seeing an increase in 2007, vinyl sales again increased in 2008.  You know vinyl, right?  Those (often) round, black things with grooves that you put on a record player?

According to Nielsen Co., vinyl sales doubled in 2008.

The number of long-play vinyl records sold in the United States rose to 1.88 million units, compared with 990,000 the year before

For more info check out the full-article from today’s Vancouver Sun — HERE

Finally, I’ll leave you all with one of the doper-pieces of vinyl that really created a lot of buzz towards the end of 2008… You’re sure to be hearing more from this man in 2009:

(note: I know some of you might be confused because this is neither round, nor black…but I assure you that it’s still “vinyl”)