Following Glenn Peoples on Twitter is really a great move if you’re in the music industry, or affected by it…or even just interested in it. Yesterday he posted about UMG’s new site VEVO which launches tonight. In case you’re unfamiliar you can read the full VEVO press release here. To sum it up for you though, VEVO is a premium video content website founded by UMG and Google who are hoping to derive ad revenue and boost retail sales before splitting the profits.
Glenn makes some really interesting points about whether or not this experiment will ultimately generate the dollars UMG and the rest of the industry have been so desperately seeking to attract in the past 10 years. But while the idea of controlling the content and limiting it to one site while not wasting loads of cash on software investment is more sound than other failed industry endeavors, I remain more wary than Mr. Peoples about whether or not this enterprise will be a success.
What labels should most be worried about is their business model. Why are they still not focusing on business practices and processes, especially after the Tim Quirk fiasco? I don’t sincerely believe that an industry that cannot use the tools its provided to keep track of the little business it does do, and honestly account for that business, can ever generate money. What little ingenuity is left in the music industry should focus on some sort of comprehensive royalty/licensing database and tracking program, not how to better harness streaming video. What about a better way to aggregate amateur content for A&R review? It only starts there, I could go on all day.
This harkens back to the same argument I posted about Spotify: if streaming video is so great and ad revenue is the way to generate dollars with music content, why hasn’t it been already done?
Glenn makes a great point when he talks about labels being great at finding, nurturing, and promoting artists – what they’re not good at is exploiting those copyrights in a way that benefits both the artist and the company that worked so at development. How is streaming video and tightly controlling that streamed video going to improve their situation? Napster already proved that the industry can’t control it’s copyrights tightly enough…then limewire did it…then YouTube…why does the platform make any difference? You may think that a music video is different than an mp3, but it’s not. The content is still focused on the artist and his or her music. The video has very little to do with it.
I’m afraid if the music industry’s best idea at this time is to hope to increase CPM’s for ad revenue then my job security may very well be in jeopardy…unless of course I go to law school as I imagine we’ll see a whole slew of lawsuits after this VEVO ordeal. Too bad I have no interest in punishing people for money, I’d rather just keep exploiting copyrights – it really isn’t that hard after all.