EMI Sets Up Its Own Online Store As YouTube Tries Selling Music

from the try,-try-again dept

Lots of folks are trying to figure out new business models in the music space, and here we have two separate big companies testing out ideas that seem unlikely to work all that well. First up is EMI, the big record label that keeps insisting that its going a different route but can’t seem to reign in its lawyers from taking the same old route. This time around, it’s launching its own music download site, where it’s promising lots of extras and goodies — including some stuff for free. It will be interesting to see how the actual site is set up, but the idea of setting up just a label specific site seems destined to fail. People want a one-stop shop. They don’t want to have to know that the music they like is on EMI. Imagine, back when people bought CDs, if they had to go to a different store for each record label. Maybe there’s more to it than what’s being described, but at first pass, this sounds like more of the same: a big record label sticking a square peg into a round hole, covering it with shiny paint, and talking about how awesome it is.

Then there’s Google, which has been struggling mightily to come up with ways to make money off of YouTube. At the same time, record labels have been complaining about how much “music” (accompanied by videos, of course) is available on YouTube, and the folks at Google put two and two together and will start offering options to buy the songs you hear on YouTube at partner sites such as Amazon or iTunes. While it’s not a bad idea (why not offer people a chance to buy if they want it), it’s hard to see this really getting that much traction. Some people may go ahead and buy out of convenience, but it’s hard to see people actually doing that much music “shopping” this way.

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Companies: emi, google, youtube

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Comments on “EMI Sets Up Its Own Online Store As YouTube Tries Selling Music”

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Dosquatch says:

"product placement"

I don’t think it has anything to do with people “shopping” for music. This is a “what the hell” purchase. It’s the reason your grocery store has magazines, candy bars, and other small price items stuffed all around the register.

I don’t think anybody does the lion’s share of their candy shopping at the checkout line, but if those Snickers didn’t sell they wouldn’t be there. A “Buy This Song” option seems like the same sort of thing – perhaps it’s not a large percentage of people who take them up on it, but with the number of views they get in a day even a sub-1% clickthrough would be worth their while.

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: YouTube misses the mark

oh, I beg to differ, I definitely go there for music. It’s nice to have a real video to go with it, but not necessary, I’ve listened to plenty of songs with a snapshot of the album cover as the ‘video’.

What drives me buggy tho is trying to weed through 600 extremely lousy compressions of a song until I find a video that doesn’t sound like crap.

Clearly, most people have a terrible non-linear video editor. It’s either too hard for them to use correctly, or they were too lazy to find the audio settings and let it use terrible defaults. It’s not youtube messing up that audio (well, it was for a short period of time, but not anymore).

Alessar says:

Youtube knows that music videos are a big draw

I’m not surprised by this move. A few months ago Youtube started using a new encoder for the sound on uploaded videos. It specifically flattens sound in a way that degrades musical quality quite a bit. The thing is, it’s possible to download youtube videos with a browser plugin. Once you have a file, it’s possible to strip the audio out as an mp3. Of course, it’s a bit complicated and not likely to be done very commonly, but I when they “plugged” that hole I thought, “I bet they’re going to try to sell mp3s.” At least they’ll have links to Amazon and not just i-Tunes.

As for using it, well I do actually go to Youtube to check out music videos quite a lot. If I hear a snippet of a song on the radio and manage to figure out what it is, often there’s a music video on youtube I can watch and preview the whole song. (Amazon does also have a short preview available but sometimes it’s not enough to ID a song). I’ve bought quite a lot of singles off Amazon since its service started, probably about 3 dozen. I’d say 8-12 of them were bought after I viewed a song’s video on youtube first.

When Maroon 5 & Rihanna released their video on Youtube this summer, it was frustrating that the song wasn’t immediately available on Amazon, though Maroon 5’s myspace page had an iTunes link — with a partnership deal in place I assume they would have had that buy link up on Youtube the first day; so I do think this is a good step.

Nick says:

Use it to preview, then buy

Honestly, I use You Tube for just this purpose already. If I hear a song on the radio I might want to buy, I go to You Tube and listen/watch it again before I decide to buy. If I like it, I usually go right over to Amazon and buy the MP3. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like a good idea to have a direct link to Amazon.

DS78 says:

I disagree...

…with the point in the article. My wife (and daughter) will most likely take full advantage of YouTube’s “Buy It Now” links especially if it’s sending her to the iTunes store. I know lots of other people who would do this as well. Why? Because the first place most people look to hear a song for free is YouTube. There’s tons of music on there waiting to be listened to.

hegemon13 says:

This is not a store; it is advertising

I am surprised, Mike, that you said that “it’s hard to see people actually doing that much music ‘shopping’ this way.” Clearly, that would not be Google’s intention. If it was, they would set up a virtual storefront. This is just advertising based on the page you’re on — in this case, a music video page. It is Google’s primary business model extended to music.

In addition, Youtube actually has a decent recommendation engine, so people may not use it to shop, but they may well use it in the discovery process.

Last, it is a perfect example of capitalizing on ‘free,’ so I am surprised at your critical, skeptical tone. The free video promotes a tangible good. Granted, the tangible good is the same old shiny disc, but it is still using a free preview to promote the disc. Since Google is not producing the good, they are really limited to the products on the market. I could see this eventually being expanded to advertise concert tickets, band gear, and other complimentary goods.

Brandon says:

Buying music on YouTube

While I do agree it wouldn’t be a huge money maker, I do agree with the poster that compared buying music through YouTube to buying candy or magazines at the checkout line of a grocery store. It’s an impulse buy. And I think some people might use it. I myself am surprised by the number of comments I see on mash-up videos asking what the song is that’s playing in the background and who sings it. And I have found myself also hearing a song on a YouTube video and then going out and finding the song on Amazon. I’ve done the same for songs in the background of movie trailers and sometimes it can be hard to find out what those songs are. Having a link from that movie trailer on YouTube to be able to buy the song could be nice.

Music Man says:

Perfect Example of Free Promotion

The link on the YouTube site is a perfect example of using “free” to make money. This is what you are always talking about, Mike. While I have a problem with derivative works that simply take the music and slap a picture on it, I can see this is can be a valuable marketing tool for artists, record companies, movie companies, etc…

In fact this may be the perfect way for Google to make money off of YouTube. Hire a team of people to watch the content and identify marketing opportunities. For example, to illustrate the possibilites imagine providing links on some of the viral video hits of the past:

Diet Coke and Mentos (obviously link to coca cola and mentos)

Links to Britany Spears music from the “Leave Brittany Alone” video.

Links to local pet store from the “Dramatic Hamster” video.


Obviously, this team would have to make arrangements with various web sites to provide compensation for the clickthrough links. But this could be the most lucrative way for YouTube to become profitable.

Sos says:

Works everywhere else

but the idea of setting up just a label specific site seems destined to fail. People want a one-stop shop. They don’t want to have to know that the music they like is on EMI. Imagine, back when people bought CDs, if they had to go to a different store for each record label.

If EMI set it up so people will get good deals, discounts or want to find similar artists there is no reason why a single label storefront would not work. It works just fine for cars, clothes, electronics, furniture, food, shoes, homewares, industrial equpiment etc.
Sure, music labels arent as recognisable as many other brands but looks like they are trying to change that.

eddie matthews (user link) says:

selling on youtube

we have been selling musicont the internet for about 10 years now oand one thing i have learned is that if someone can get a song they like for free.. they will
the problem with selling on you tube is that it still a stream… there is so much free softwhere availible now that alls peaple to very easily record a stream and transfer it to mp3 with no more than a click of the mouse.
the paid streams we get paid on through rhaspady and napster dont add about to a hill of beans and belief me we get thousands of them…..exposure for artists now that is a differnt story but to sell music i would suggest download only sites like itunes…amazon.verizon ..ext….

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