Lots of news sites are covering Warner Music's announcement today that they're going to offer music videos from their archives for free (with ads) streaming online. About the only reason why this should be news is the fact that it took them until 2007 to realize that these promotional videos could be used for promotional purposes. Remember, the whole point of music videos was to attract more interest in the music and musicians. In other words, music videos have always been promotional materials, and as such it's bizarre that it's taken Warner Music this long to realize that it might make sense to offer them up for people to view. That said, Warner Music still seems confused about this, as they're focused not on making it even easier to use these music videos for promotional purpose, but on "monetizing" them. First, these videos are at Warner's own hub, rather than distributed to content sites where people already go. They seem to believe that people will want to search them out, a strategy that hasn't worked for other media companies because it goes against the way people want to interact with the content. People don't know which artists are on the Warner Music label, and they don't care. If they want music videos they want to go to places where they can get all kinds of music videos, rather than just a random group that happens to have a business relationship with a company that the users don't care about. Then, of course, these videos are only for streaming -- not for promoting. Users can't share them with their friends, they can only download videos for a fee. At some point you would think that the folks at the major labels would start to realize the difference between promotional goods and goods that should be sold, but it appears they're still a long way away from that epiphany.
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