I popped over to YouTube the other day to watch a music video and it struck me that artists are missing a huge opportunity for self promotion. Instead of clamoring for YouTube to take down their copyrighted material, artists of all types should be instead clamoring for YouTube to help them promote their material.
Now I know YouTube has been avoiding having advertisements, but will be forced to have them now that Google has acquired the company and expects it to make a profit. Now it is only a question of timing, and Google figuring out how they can distribute their ad inventory on Google in the optimal way to maximize revenue without chasing the audience away to other video sites.
But will this Google ad syndication approach be the best thing for YouTube and the content that usually ends up there? For Bob’s homemade video, sure maybe, but what about for a band like “The Killers” or the estate of a dead artist like “Elvis” or even someone like Tony Robbins?
Artists ultimately gain the most value from being seen or heard doing what they do best. It seems to me that it would be in their best interests not to accept some sort of advertising revenue sharing proposal from Google/YouTube. Perhaps, flip it around and propose their own proposal that promotes a link to buy their latest CD, DVD, or even Poster or Print at the end and possibly subtly during the video. In this context, the artist is providing free content and arguably should get 100% of the revenue. This enables Google/YouTube to make their money on the non-copyrighted material, or maybe they can get the artists to give them a share of the click-thru revenue.
The same is true with video content on Amazon. I was shocked that at the end of a video on the page for Gary Hamel’s latest book, Amazon hadn’t embedded a link that I could click on to add the book to my shopping cart. Every piece of content served up to a user should have a call to action that is relevant and potentially mutual beneficial for the viewer and the content owner. If the call to action had been there, I might have bought the book on impulse, but instead I had time to think about looking around to find the best price.
Shouldn’t copyright owners seek to distribute their content far and wide with their own embedded call to action, instead of hunting those down that post it?
What do you think?