Youtube (GOOG) to Charge for Music Videos
Youtube (GOOG) will begin charging subscriptions for viewers to watch official music videos on their site with no ads.
This move is a first for the online video sharing network that has added increasing amounts of online advertising on their video content as a way to monetize the free service.
Youtube is the largest video content site with over 1 billion viewers
It remains to be seen how this model will affect the independent music companies and the revenue for the site which has gone from simple cat videos to a marketing platform for many business startups and indie music groups to gain exposure.
How can YouTube get the subscriptions?
Is there even a place for music videos anymore?
MTV is barely recognizable for those whose memory is rooted in its earliest incarnation, with reality TV shows and programming dominating its line-up.
In their heyday music videos were a great way to show and build a bands image. Before the internet and social media it was the only way to see a band on TV or get a feel for the image of the band.
Michael Jackson, Queen, and Duran Duran became music video icons during the 80s and 90s, but now the music video is less important. The band's Facebook (FB) , Twitter (TWTR) , Instagram, and MySpace accounts - yes, MySpace is for bands - are becoming the tools used to reach the audience.
The music video was an art form that is now lost with too many videos glorifying violence, gang life, and half naked dancers, while the singers like Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus have become a dance fest of gyrations and sexual poses.
The music video evolution
One of the first music video promotional pieces was Queen's “Bohemian Rapsody” in 1975. This was not the first music video, but it was a promotional artistic accompaniment to the song that helped make it a number one hit.
Michael Jackson used the media to display his dance talents for songs like "Billie Jean" and the 20-minute "Thriller" video that was a sensational hit.
With other alternatives like Vimeo, it may be a misstep by YouTube to try this route. Their 2014 revenue will exceed $3 billion as advertising takes over every facet of the site's content.
The larger music companies will share in the revenue if this plan goes ahead, and this will offset some of the revenue that the industry says it has lost due to illegal downloads, but it still does add a bigger handicap for smaller, independent music labels that can get greater exposure for less mainstream music by showcasing on a free video platform.
How can they transform a Free Culture to a paying culture?
This will remain to be seen as unlike the getting bonus material or higher resolution video, the viewer is really just limited to waiting 15-30 seconds for a video to start.
I am one who hopes they choose an alternative route as soon the financial reports will entice them to add more subscription services on their platform.
Sure there will be some lonely ladies who will pay a fee to watch ad-free cat videos. But what about the rest of us?
So far no details of the youtube subscription plan have been released publically.
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