YouTube Grows With 'Country Now'
March 1, 2013
I've talked previously in the newsletter about what a big part YouTube plays in new music discovery for fans. Now, tens of millions of known but underserved Country music fans on YouTube have an original genre channel to satisfy their music and lifestyle needs. Loaded with fresh, creative content, the COUNTRY NOW channel has debuted on YouTube with programs designed to delight, entertain and inform the current and next generation of country music fans.
YouTube and GreenLight Media & Marketing launched the channel this week with four original programs, and plans to develop several other new series including live music and artist driven programs throughout the coming year
Produced in partnership with GreenLight Media & Marketing, COUNTRY NOW is focused on serving the needs of today's Country music fans and supporting Country artists with innovative new platforms that showcase their music and lifestyle interests. While music programming will anchor the channel, COUNTRY NOW will also feature lifestyle programs on fashion, sports, cars, southern cooking and culture with additional programs launching in the near future.
"We're excited to partner in the coming months and years with a variety of leading Country music artists and labels, as well as some of the top creative people in Nashville to deliver a first-of-its-kind Country music and lifestyle programming experience on YouTube" said GreenLight Pres. Dominic Sandifer. "YouTube is the dominant digital platform for music lovers and it's about time there was a dedicated channel just for Country music on the platform. We see this as a wonderful opportunity to partner with the Country msic industry to develop and create a variety of great programming options for country's huge fanbase."
"Music is a big part of the ever-growing YouTube community," says Vivien Lewit, Content Partnership Director at YouTube. "Our platform has become a global stage for discovery, where music videos are shared, and fans follow and connect with their favorite artists. We're delighted to provide a venue for the launch of the Country Now channel and look forward to engaging country music fans around the world."
I thought a talk with Greenlight Pres. Dominic Sandifer about the new channel would provide interesting to readers as YouTube continues to grow and expand the active music audience.
SM: First of all, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today about COUNTRY NOW. I was thrilled to hear about the launch of the channel from longtime friend, Butch Waugh. To start with, how was Butch involved and where did the idea for 'Country Now' come from?
DS: Our company has known and worked with Butch for a long time. When we began development on "Country Now," it was only natural that we work closely with him as we aligned our interests with those of the industry in Nashville. He's amazing; he knows everyone and been incredibly instrumental in our early development, including suggesting the series which ultimately became Hear & Now
Dating back to last spring, when YouTube was just launching their original programming initiative, the idea of them funding original music channel in certain important verticals like Country, as well as EDM (Electronic Dance Music) was high on their priority list. They asked us, knowing our background and relationships throughout the music industry, to propose what a Country-based channel might look like, so we conceived Country Now as a modern digital platform for one of the most important music genres and lifestyles in North America and beyond Country.
SM: Videos are all over YouTube by almost all Country artists, what will Country Now do to assist new and emerging artists in getting exposure and what are plans to make the channel a strong separate YouTube entity?
DS: Our goal is to work closely with industry labels and artist managers to expose their new and emerging talent through shows like "Hear & Now," as well as "Country Download." Additionally, because we aren't a traditional broadcast entity limited by spectrum or time slots, we can offer the industry and new artists a place to post their content on a third-party basis and let them benefit from the ongoing marketing and promotion we will be doing across the channel. And we're exploring formats and shows to discover new talent on our own as well, although those are still in development. That being said, labels and artist managers are still the best in the world at curating what talent really is the best of the best and that's why they've existed for so long and remain incredibly important in the discovery and development of new artists.
SM: How will 'Country Now' be promoted in the media ... are there partnerships planned or already in place?
DS: We will be using a variety of methods to promote "Country Now" across mediums, including tapping into social media (both artist, label and fans), the multi-channel networks on YouTube such as Fullscreen, use of paid digital media, as well as cross-promotion with some of the more traditional outlets such as print and terrestrial radio.
It is such an incredibly vibrant time of change for media right now, and we are in active discussion with many of the more traditional media outlets to help cross-promote one another as their models evolve and their businesses come more and more online. We purposely soft-launched the channel before flipping the switch on some of these promotional strategies so we could get our initial content up and running, so the industry could see what it looked like and were then best able to determine where the opportunities for them might really be best pursued.
We're already getting great feedback both from the industry and fans and we will be iterating both our programming and marketing models as we go. This is truly an outlet and medium that is served best by the immediate feedback we get from partners and audiences. Our marketing and programming should benefit from our ability to tweak our strategies on the fly.
SM: What is the revenue model for "Country Now," and will there be any revenue generated for artists?
DS: As with all other YouTube channels, YT manages the advertising inventory across the channel and artists/labels benefit from the existing rights deals they already have in place with YT. Additionally, we are able to offer artists and labels the ability to annotate specific offers and links on top of our program to purchase music, tickets and merchandise instantly. That's a pretty big benefit.
If you are watching our recent 'Hear & Now' episode that features and highlights Blake Shelton's new single and there's a link right there on your screen where all you have to do is click on it to go to a third-party online retailer like iTunes to buy it, well that's potentially a pretty powerful driver of single sales. At least it's one more tool for the labels and artists' toolbox for selling their music when they launch a new album.
SM: 'Country Now' will no doubt be embraced by all labels in Nashville and elsewhere that produce Country music; will you work with labels to create exclusive' Country Now' promotions?
DS: We are already deep into working with all the labels and are also actively looking for new and innovative promotions that can help us both. They want to sell new music and tickets; we want more viewers and subscribers. We already helping one another and new ideas are coming up everyday. We're also looking at how and where we can co-create new programming. That will hopefully be coming very soon.
SM: I imagine there will be special events planned for the channel as it rolls out...are there any you currently have planned, or is it too soon to talk about any plans in the works?
DS: Too soon to talk about them, but we're definitely looking to tie-in to events that already exist like the ACMs or Grammys (our show OMC is covering fashion at both events), and we are also looking to help artist and labels make the events and special moments they have planned even6y5r bigger.
SM: The online audience, is in my opinion, the most active and engaged audience out there because they seek what they want to watch and virally spread the word. We already know that more teens are discovering new music on YouTube, but what will the channel do to attract and engage the broadest audience possible?
DS: YouTube is far and away the most dominant player in music consumption, and we aren't just talking about teens. There's a broader audience that already exist there of millions of people that identity themselves as Country fans and they just need a central hub. Our goal is make 'Country Now' that hub and drive behavior on YT with then, so they know they can also get their country fix on YT, which is where they are already consuming other video formats and content. We're focusing our search and marketing efforts on the YT country audience already there, but underserved. We also think cross-promotions with radio and print will help.
SM: I've already subscribed to the channel, and it's a nice clean site that's easy to navigate and loaded with information ... do you plan any live video streaming events in the future?
DS: Yes, those are in the works for sure from Google Hangouts, to live streamed shows and/or artist special moments
SM: I think 'Country Now' will be a huge success ... and other channels will launch with other music formats as well as online music video viewing affects sales more and more. In closing, is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?
DS: Well, we look at 'Country Now' as a marathon and not a sprint. We will build it over time and with the best partners in country music and lifestyle. It is critically important to us to work with the Country music community in Nashville and elsewhere, from the best video producers, to the best artist, labels, publishers and fans. Their participation is key. This is by Country and for Country. We're all fans!
SM: Thanks Dominic!
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
AHOY YOU PIRATES! THE INDUSTRY AND ISPS ARE LAUNCHING A COPYRIGHT SYSTEM!
From The Wrap, "The entertainment's industry new piracy warnings to computer users started flowing Monday as the industry and internet service providers finally launched their long-promised Copyright Alert System.
Announced in 2011 and originally set to begin by the end of 2012, the alert system is an effort by the movie, TV and recording industries and major cable providers to move much more swiftly to issue warnings whenever copyright owners discover that an account is being used to access or download pirated content."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
BILLBOARD LISTS THE TOP 40 MONEY MAKERS
It may be a digital age, but live is still the big cash driver for the top-40 earners on Billboard's annual list. Yes, Madonna and Springsteen are way up the top of the list, and "When it comes to making the biggest score, the most money always comes from high-paying live performances. Concerts make up 68.9% of revenue for the 40 artists on Billboard's Moneymakers list."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
CHECK OUT 'TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM'
'Twenty Feet From Stardom' is the untold story of backup singers in popular music.
It is a celebration of the voices from the edge, which brought shape and style to the soundtracks of our lives. "Both uplifting and heartbreaking, the film is a tribute to the voices from the edge that brought shape and style to the soundtracks of our lives, and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices, and rewards of a career as an individual artist versus one spent harmonizing with others."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
GOOGLE GETS READY TO LAUNCH MUSIC SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
Sorry Spotify, but Google is reportedly working on a subscription music-streaming service of its own.
"Negotiations are under way with major record labels to license their music," reports Bloomberg, citing sources. In addition, "Google ... is also discussing renewing deals that cover the use of songs in videos made by consumers."
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
MUSIC SALES ARE UP, AND PIRACY IS SLIPPING
A pair of reports show that revenue is edging up -- and piracy is slipping.
A pair of reports published today (both worth reading, and or downloading for resource info) on the music industry -- one from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the other from research firm NPD -- highlighted the first glimmer of good news that the music biz has seen in a long time. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
SHAZAM! DRIVING $300 MILLION IN SALES ON AMAZON AND iTUNES!
From Hypebot (and thanks to reader Rob Banagale for sending me the article): "Shazam says users are tagging 10 million songs, shows and ads a day. They're also buying what they've tagged. Clicking through to digital stores like iTunes and Amazon MP3, Shazam users are buying $300 million worth a year. The vast majority is music, says the company. TV, films and apps are a small but growing percentage."
And Read more on The Guardian
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
ANNIE LENNOX SAYS "WHY?" BLASTS TV TALENT SHOWS WITH "STUPID ROW OF JUDGES'
The Scottish singer has launched a scathing attack on "horrible" television talent shows and their "stupid row of judges". Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
PANDORA TO LIMIT FREE LISTENING ON MOBILE TO 40 HOURS PER MONTH
Pandora said it will introduce a 40-hours-per-month limit on free mobile listening, as the Internet radio company looks to manage rising royalty costs.
'Read more on The Wall Street Journal.
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* HP Embraces Tablets As Key To Future: Confirming earlier reports, HP says it is building an entire portfolio of tablets, both Android and Windows, The Verge reports. "HP is the No. 1 PC manufacturer in the world, and we want to be the No. 1 computer vendor in the world," Alberto Torres, head of the HP Mobility business unit, tells The Verge. "That means we need to be in the tablet space." Read the whole story
* With last week's news that Nvidia is tapping noted architecture firm Gensler to design its futuristic new campus headquarters in Santa Clara, CA, high-tech design is back in focus. Take a look at some of the nation's most exotic and engaging tech campuses -- and a few that are quickly moving into reality. READ MORE
* During Apple's annual shareholder meeting, CEO Cook says the company is focused on the long term and making the best products it can. Read more
* iTunes U hits 1 billion downloads. More than 60% of app downloads from iTunes U come from outside the U.S., and the educational content can be accessed in 155 countries.
* In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, WPP chief Martin Sorrell "doo-doos" all over ascendant social media giants Twitter and Facebook, which are not advertising media, and certainly are not branding media. "I think it's a PR medium. Again, it's very effective word of mouth," he asserts.
* Hoping to hit Pandora where it hurts, online radio service TuneIn just debuted a service to help listeners discover new audio content. "Using the data it gathers from its over 40 million monthly users, TuneIn is now able to provide its users with personalized recommendations, based on the stations, songs and artists they listen to," TechCrunch reports. TuneIn was also a launch partner for Google's Google+ sign-in launch, this week.
* Forrester analyst James McQuivey suggests that Silicon Valley's best days are behind it. Why? For one, because "digital disruption," has gone global, he writes in AllThingsD. "The long-term effect of rising digital disruption will be to redistribute the benefits of the future across the planet, even as it continues to improve the already futuristic valley that started it all."
* As mentioned above, illegal music downloads dropped in 2012. Online and offline sharing of copyrighted music took a nosedive last year, according to NPD. Read more
* The PadFone Infinity is a 5-inch LTE smartphone that becomes a 10.1-inch tablet when docked into the PadFone Infinity Station. Read more
Short News Items ...
In preliminary tracking, ratings for last night's Seth MacFarlane-hosted Oscars telecast beat 2011's Billy Crystal-hosted show, with a 12.1, "up 19% from last year's fast nationals (of 10.7). The 2012 telecast was ultimately adjusted up to an 11.7," writes Matt Webb Mitovich on YahooTV.
NO SETH, NO TINA:
Seth MacFarlane has already said he's not interested in hosting the Oscars again, and it turns out Tina Fey doesn't want the gig, either. The 30 Rock creator told The Huffington Post there's "no way" she would be interested in hosting next year's Academy Awards.
IDOL DOWN MORE:
"American Idol" for the entirety of its primetime slate, was down slightly from last week, posting a 3.8 rating/11 share in the key 18-49 demo and had 13.1 million total viewers. It was the lowest demo performance for the series since July 2003 and the smallest audience since August 2002.
RASCALS DO BROADWAY:
The Rascals will hit Broadway this spring with a musical/concert hybrid titled "The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream." The show is produced, directed and written by Steven Van Zandt. Emmy winner Marc Brickman is also listed as a director of the project, and Van Zandt's wife Maureen serves as co-producer. The production begins previews April 15th, with opening night set for Thursday, April 18th. Only 15 performances are scheduled, through May 5th
DIAMOND PEARL JAM:
Earl Jam's landmark debut album "Ten" becomes the latest addition to the 10 million-sellers club in the U.S. (Designated as "Diamond Status')
TYLER & PERRY HONORED:
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry will be the 36th recipients of ASCAP's Founders Award at this year's Pop Music Awards, it was announced Wednesday. The Pop Music Awards will take place April 17th at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles.
CIRQUE DO MICHAEL JACKSON:
A new Cirque du Soleil show based on the music and life of Michael Jackson will come to Las Vegas this summer, The Associated Press reports.
BOSS REAL ESTATE:
The two-bedroom cottage in Long Branch, New Jersey, where Bruce Springsteen wrote his breakthrough LP 'Born to Run' is up for sale for about $350,000, The Associated Press reports.
BOBBY BROWN BACK IN JAIL:
Singer Bobby Brown is headed to jail next month to serve a 55-day sentence imposed for his second drunken driving conviction in a year. The jail time is stiffer because his driver's license was suspended after he pleaded no contest last summer to another charge of driving under the influence, the Los Angeles city attorney's spokesman said.
JACK WHITE BUSY:
Jack White is busy. Even as his Third Man Records prepares for its biggest year yet, including an ambitious blues reissue project, he tells Rolling Stone he's working on at least 20 new songs and music with the Dead Weather.
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS FIRE SCOTT WEILAND:
The band released a terse one-sentence statement this week announcing that the singer has been "officially terminated." Weiland is scheduled to embark on a solo tour next month. After Stone Temple Pilots announced they had "terminated" Weiland, the singer released a response to Rolling Stone: "Not sure how I can be 'terminated' from a band that I founded and fronted, but that's something for the lawyers to figure out."
R&R HALL OF FAME STONES STUFF:
On Memorial Day Weekend, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum will open the major exhibit "Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction." Many of the artifacts, videos and texts gathered for the show, which runs through March 2014, have never been seen before.
R&R FANTASY CAMP:
Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck will be the star attractions this spring at Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas, where campers will learn songwriting and performance tips from the Beach Boys co-founder and the legendary guitarist. The camp takes place from April 18th-21st at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and the camp's facility west of the Strip.
GUNS FOR TIX:
If hip-hop music manager Michael "Blue" Williams, the head of Family Tree Entertainment, has his way, New Yorkers will be able to trade guns for Beyonce tickets. That's part of Williams' plan for a private-sector gun buyback that he's pitched to the New York Police Department, the New York Daily News reports.
PETTY GETS INTIMATE:
While on tour this summer, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will host two intimate residencies, one in L.A. and one at New York's Beacon Theater. "You try to keep yourself entertained," he told Rolling Stone. "I'm gonna be there every night, and I want to enjoy it."
CLAPTON SEZ HE'LL STOP TOURING AT 70:
Set to release his 21st solo album, Eric Clapton told Rolling Stone that the traveling is getting old. "When I'm 70, I'll stop," he says. "I won't stop playing or doing one-offs, but I'll stop touring, I think." He brings his Crossroads Guitar Fest to Madison Square Garden in April.
SEGER DEBUTS NEW SONG:
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band kicked off their 2013 American tour this week with a show at the Huntington Center in Toledo, OH. The most exciting development was the addition of a brand new song entitled "All the Roads." It's a stripped-down, reflective number with some lovely sax work from Alto Reed.
KISS THE HOUSE GOODBYE:
Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley may lose his house in Yorktown, New York, after the U.S. Bank National Association accused him of not paying his mortgage for almost two years, the Journal News reports. According to the bank, Frehley stopped paying his $735,000 mortgage on March 1st, 2011.
Fresh off their Album of the Year win, Mumford & Sons have begun their third album, setting up a practice room at tour stops to hash out ideas. After the "brothers" of their first two albums, they're ready to make a cousin. "We really want to rap," says Marcus Mumford.
Cleotha Staples, a founding member of the beloved Chicago soul group the Staple Singers, died last week after a long battle with Alzheimer's. She was 78.
Blues guitarist Magic Slim died last week in a Philadelphia hospital, The Associated Press reports. He was 75, and had been dealing with worsening health problems.
Dan Toler, a southern rock guitar great who was part of the Allman Brothers Band family, has died near his hometown of Sarasota, Fla. He was 65. In 2011, Toler was diagnosed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's disease."
Damon Harris, a former member of the Motown group The Temptations, has died at age 62, his family reported. His eldest daughter, Erica Harris Outlaw, told CNN her father had been battling prostate cancer for the last 14 years.
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Man Who Bought 34th Anniversary Reissue Of Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' Feeling Like Real Idiot After Passing Display For 35th Anniversary Edition
ENID, OK—Longtime Fleetwood Mac fan Michael Gastin reportedly felt like a complete moron this week after walking by a retail display for the 35th anniversary remastered CD box set of the band's celebrated 1977 album Rumours, released less than a year after he purchased the Rumours 34th anniversary edition.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
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Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
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