February 2, 2005 11:35 AM PST

Price tag added to online music videos

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After years of reluctantly treating music videos as free promotional tools, record label Universal Music Group is planning to charge Internet and satellite companies whenever they play.

The change, which is likely to be followed by other record labels, marks a potentially substantial shift in the economics of the online-entertainment world. Some of the most popular entertainment services, such as Yahoo's Launch and the AOL Music service, are built around streaming millions of free videos a month to customers.

Label executives have long bemoaned their initial precedent-setting decision to provide MTV with virtually free access to music videos in the early 1980s. Universal's decision marks an attempt to ensure that the label profits from an on-demand medium that is quickly becoming the modern version of MTV.

A Universal spokesman declined to comment on the decision, which has not been publicly announced. Some Internet companies said they had been notified of the policy earlier in the week.

Sources familiar with the deal said Microsoft was approached earlier and had already agreed to pay Universal for use of videos, however.

"The digital music and video market is still in its infancy, and the business models are continuing to evolve," Rob Bennett, senior director of MSN Entertainment, said in a statement. "As an industry we are all figuring this out together, and it's our job at MSN Music to provide a great platform to bring content owners together with consumers."

According to people close to the label, the policy is aimed at Internet, satellite and cable TV operations that are providing on-demand access to videos. The policy also will cover live performances by Universal artists.

Artist Web sites and one-time deals with specific consumer brand sites will be excluded. Retailers, radio stations and other promotional sites will be allowed to stream 30-second clips.

As an inducement to sign up, Universal plans to stop buying advertising on any site that does not strike a deal under the new policy.

On-demand videos have become a key part of major labels' promotional campaigns in the last year. Label executives now say marketing campaigns on Yahoo's Launch or the AOL Music service can be as important as major broadcast radio play.

AOL Music recently said that it attracts up to 4 million viewers per week to its on-demand AOL Sessions service online, and that the versions of those videos shown on Time Warner Cable's on-demand programming were watched nearly 8 million times per month.


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As if streaming wasn't bad enough
So let me get this straight: they're going to charge for streaming video??! Oh that's good. I think streaming is the worst technology ever created. I don't know, maybe hundreds or thousands of people like to see chopped up videos end enjoy "rebuffering" messages that take forever when watching streaming media. I certainly don't like to hear a pause in my music every two seconds (and I have broadband). Videos seen by streaming were unbearable when they were free, what gonna happen now that they're charging for them? I am certainly not going to pay for chopped up music. But I guess two million people or so who go to these sites really like their chopped music. Enjoy!
Posted by Sentinel (199 comments )
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I agree....
This is bullsh!t...I usually download music videos from Ares, but it looks like THATS going to be illegal too! I can usually stream videos pretty good, usually they never stop, so now I guess us consumers had better be prepared for even MORE ads on sites like MSN Music and Launch. And as for them charging MTV, it doesn't matter. It's not like they show any music videos anyway! Except in the early morning hours and on TRL, but you can't enjoy them on TRL for those retards "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" ing.
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
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Music video
Why not stream the video's for free, But charge if someone wants to download the video? There are some video's I would like to keep. Ex. Bonnie Mckee's Trouble, Kerry Harvick's cowgirls along with some videos from 70's and 80's.
You could charge .99 or 1.99 for a video.
Posted by (3 comments )
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