Saturday, April 19, 2008

Digital Promotion Is Today... And Growing / Madonna "4 Minutes" Video

Madonna - 4 Minutes

Internet users in the U.S. officially watched more than 10 billion videos online in the month of February alone. That’s according to the comScore Video Metrix service.

On a related subject, Madonna just made her first straight-to-YouTube video. What was she waiting for? Maybe to decide where she would come down on copyright and copycats? What do you know: She’s in favor! But maybe - just maybe - it's more about letting her fans enjoy the work she does, celebrate her freely in the web because what it all comes down to, is this: free promotion. Not a bad thing because all in all her fans benefit, she benefits, the hype around her benefits, and that leads to her album sales benefitting - either digitally or physically, it doesn't matter. Everybody wins. Warner Bros. might have something to say about that though, especially after her new album Hard Candy, all the singles, videos and tour is behind them. Plus we must not forget the next follow-up, Madonna's final greatest hits compilation under her long-time label. The grande finale between Warner Bros. and the pop icon who - against the majority of assumptions - became the best-selling female performer in the world, among many other things.

When the fairytale is over, however, Warner Bros. is unlikely to let the chance go past without cashing in. Quite in contrary, Warner Bros. will most likely keep a close eye on their rights to profit from the unbelievable back catalogue Madonna leaves behind - of course she will also be profitting from her creative fruits through her copyrights.

Madonna is making smart business moves, looking on to the future and expanding the avenues through which she can reach the public - so it is quite understandable she is not against people who freely celebrate her via the web. Naturally, there is a great concern over the on-going copyright enfrightenments in the music business. But when the music along with other products including videos, seem to go on digital sale before the physical appears, it is highly unlikely that public video making is allowed to any material that is in sale digitally co-sidedly. With "4 Minutes", Warner Bros. showed just where they stand on this. The videos were yanked down repeatedly and even videos that had nothing to do with the new material, were being yanked down as well. Now it is allowed, with the consent of Madonna herself - but only after the inial "ka-ching". After all, music business isn't called business for nothing. Even if it is a creative field, it's still a big money making machine - not a charity.

Another interesting note, regarding the numerous videos people have made for Madonna's new single, is this: before Madonna's message appeared in You Tube, the endurance of Miley Cyrus' video for "4 Minutes" was unbelievable. Even though at the same time Warner removed just about everything connected with the song or any new Madonna material for that material, they left this one untouched. The act speaks volumes. Miley Cyrus' video gathered 950,000-plus viewers and while the amount of views might be partially explained by Miley Cyrus' presence, the promotional value was much greater than a video created by an average You Tube user. This is ultimately the reason why it was not brough down with a 'copyright enfrightenment' message accompanied. After all, how could they have not known about it when everyone else talked about it? Maybe the video got Warner's approval? Maybe - maybe it just marked the turn of a new promotional strategy?

For those who want to attract attention or promote their services or products, You Tube has become a marketing platform. Just this week it was announced that one You Tuber who had produced a series of videos and managed to acquire great following, was approached by the big players who wanted to invest. The idea behind it was that by investing in the projects, they could have a "commercial" either at the beginning or at the end of the video. It seems You Tube is becoming a side-wing for television marketing - not just a tool for the fans to adore their idols or post personal footage or their own creations. As everyone knows who watches television, between shows we are bombarded with commercials to the point that it's starting to feel like harassment. It would not be a surprise if we would start to be exposed to ads and promotional material in You Tube through new deals between businessmen and the You Tube users. It's almost like all those websites out there, with irritating pop-up windows that start to interfere with the main thing, enjoying what one came there for to begin with. While in You Tube you may skip the ads, at least for now, this may not be the case in the future.

If the interaction between those who create professional quality videos and those who want the exposure becomes a growing trend, You Tube might have to start thinking about their resources to deliver for the new market. So far the downloads are limited to short clips but if the ads start to take time from the actual video, it's time to expand the length of footage one can upload for the public to see. If all pieces fit, it's clearly a new way to promote oneself - no matter what the product is.

Madonna - Message to YouTube

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