Universal, YouTube Collaboration All Depends On Execution… And Community

from the give-them-the-benefit-of-the-doubt? dept

A bunch of different sources are reporting on a “near deal” between Universal Music and YouTube to create a special stand-alone music video site, sort of like a “Hulu for music.” As has been widely reported, all of the major record labels have been in talks to try to come up with new deals with YouTube — with most of the earlier focus concerning how to deal with user-uploaded clips that contained music. Famously, Warner Music pulled out of discussions, when it was angry about the terms of the deal. Sony Music, however, recently renewed their deal. The Universal Music deal would be something much larger — focusing more on content put on an entirely new site by the label itself. The other major labels have been offered the option of joining in as well.

Of course, no deal is definite, and with all of these things, the devil is in the details. The News.com report notes that the “benefits” that each party brings to the table is that Universal would bring the music, while YouTube/Google would bring the technology. If that’s really all there is to it, then it’s missing the point of YouTube. The value has never been in the technology itself — which isn’t even as good as some others’, and not all that hard to replicate. The value in YouTube has always been the community. Many people now go to YouTube first to find any kind of video they’re looking for — and there’s a large and growing community of folks who use YouTube to communicate with others. Creating an entire site to get rid of the riffraff just for the sake of selling higher CPM ads may sound good at first, but if it does so in a way that diminishes the value of the community, it may limit the usefulness or success of the site. In fact, at just about the same time that news of this possible deal was leaking, news was breaking that PluggedIn, a site that tried to be a “Hulu for music” and apparently had wonderful technology, was shutting down.

Filed Under:
Companies: google, hulu, sony music, universal music, warner music, youtube

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Comments on “Universal, YouTube Collaboration All Depends On Execution… And Community”

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PaulT (profile) says:

No doubt the new project would also replicate Hulu’s mistakes – regional restrictions, attempts to restrict which devices can be used to play videos – as well as its benefits. There’s also the question of whether people who currently watch music videos on YouTube would want to follow them to a music-only site.

A few nights ago, I was messing around on YouTube, first watching some in-game footage of some videogames I was interested in. Once I tired of that, I watched a few movie trailers, then a couple of music videos (queuing up a couple of tunes in my eMusic account as a result) before watching an episode from the 4th season of the excellent BBC comedy quiz show Q.I.

*that’s* the value of YouTube. I doubt that all of the videos I watched are officially available anywhere on the web, especially the game footage (also, Q.I. season 4 isn’t on DVD yet, and the BBC’s iPlayer is regionally restricted). Even if it were, I doubt I’d have bothered watching everything I did if I had to go to one site for the game stuff, one for the music, one for the trailers, etc.

Rick says:

I'll give them the benefit of the doubt this time.

I usually agree with your line of thinking Mike, but this time I’m going to have to be more optimistic.

You were very negative about the idea of Hulu when they pulled out of YouTube and stated their plans for that site. Heck, we all were.

Since Universal did such a great job along with Fox on Hulu and it has been a fairly good success, barring their recent pullbacks with Boxee and others. I’m going to give this new site a chance.

I’m honestly hoping it can be something more like MTV was in the beginning, and if it’s available to stream to settop boxes like Roku or the game consoles – it’ll really be a winner.

MTV was the best, IMHO, back when they actually played music 24 hours a day. We lost that to extreme commercialism. Sites like Hulu and this new video site could help bring that experience back for us and the youth of today, but even better and accessible in more ways than ever before.

Here’s to hoping…

R. Miles says:

I don't want my MTV!

It’s appalling to see licensing fees screw everything up.

I think it’s about time businesses pay me to enjoy their content online.

Deals like this only screw things up for customers.

I’ve yet to go to YouTube and this blog just pointed out one of the reasons why, given this deal is going to cost millions to which someone’s going to have to pay one way or another.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Part of the problem is that sites like Youtube are good at aggregating eyeballs, but they are very poor at creating a sustainable business model. Without the blessed intervention of Google, Youtube likely would have run out of money a long, long time ago, and they are still far from ever being a truly profitable business model.

There was a chance for Youtube when the videos were all free and nobody was considering paying a performance fee or other structured payment system to the video owners / producers. But with pay for play agreements in place, the website has to be adjusted to make that work out. Trying to enforce a cpm model under the youtube name might not work, so other types of sites using the youtube “technology” to support a more ad based model might be a better move.

Youtube is like Napster – a popular idea that in it’s original form has no hope of being a business.

Eric says:

Question for Mike about internet TV..

With the popularity and global implications of internet video’s and TV via the internet.. do you think that the FCC will have much say in the future when shows can be produced and hosted outside the united states and freely use nudity or cursing as they please.

Also when the internet picks up as a movie outlet, will the ratings system of the MPAA become defunct as there will be no reason for the movies to be rated.

When will internet TV replace cable/satellite possibly? I’m just waiting for the day when I’m not oppressed by the right wing morality machine that doesn’t allow cursing or nudity on US airwaves. Thanks

David says:

There is room for both sites

I like the concept of having a site geared towards professional (record company uploaded) video. I think You Tube is a wonderful site and has lots of great stuff, but it also has a lot cramp and spam as well. Sometimes I like to look at the “community” uploaded videos, but there are other times that I just want to see (or hear) the “official” version without wading through all the junk (especially if I’m interested in purchasing the music). Let’s face it, how many times have you had to look at the same video that’s been uploaded 6 times?

I also I think that if it is a sponsored site and limited in scope, we may see artist producing extras just for the site. Stuff like interview and “the making of”, etc.

I thin both sites would have a role to play.

Ben says:

YouTube doesn't have a community

Making every problem into a nail for your “community” hammer leads to some odd statements. YouTube is not a community, it’s a broadcast medium. There are no “conversations” on YouTube. The comments there are legendarily random, rude, and pointless.

People go to YouTube to watch a video – maybe be tempted to watch others – and get out. They do their “communicating” about the video they saw elsewhere – in their blogs, forums, facebook, twitter, their WoW guild meeting, around the water cooler. But not on YouTube.

People generally put a video on YouTube so they can embed it on their own site, and have it as part of the conversation – in their own site’s community.

YouTube is great. It’s pervasive, it’s democratic, it helps people share their creativity and interact with their communities in ways they could not before. But a community of its own it simple doesn’t have – at least not one comprised of a significant part of its visitors, with some common interest or a desire to interconnect.

So making a different site for music – or any interest group, for that matter – is the smart thing to do. In a site like this an actual community might form, which would obviously help the site.

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