According to CNN Money, Google is rumored to be exploring the monetization of music on YouTube. Artists whose videos are on YouTube are currently paid royalties that are funded through ad sales, but content creators want to explore the possibility of making money off teen eyeballs by having them pay a subscription fee. While in theory this is a good idea, the underlying reason why YouTube is so popular with the most sought-after demographic is its inherent free-ness. A :20 second ad before a Harlem Shake video has not stopped the phenomenon from racking up millions of views, so having people pay a small amount to take the ads out of the equation seems unlikely, especially when this new service’s existing competitors struggle to attract paying users as it is, with only about 1 million currently paying for Spotify’s premium offerings.
But if anyone is in a good position to try this, it’s Google’s YouTube. The users are there and this move might result in even more labels getting on board the YouTube bandwagon, clearly the new front line of the distribution network for mainstream music. Whether or not a subscription fee will turn out to be more profitable than the existing ad-supported model is still unproven, so this whole endeavor could be a complete wash, but the ‘music industry’ is up for anything that might generate revenue in an age when content is presumed to be free. Good luck undoing that notion.
• YouTube: http://www.youtube.com