Apparently YouTube is not satisfied with the money gained from advertising dollars and partnerships alone and wants money to come directly from consumers into their pockets now. Not saying that YouTube is more cold or calculating than any other net giant out on the internet, but it does seem to go against why YouTube achieved such popularity in the first place.
Things that spread like wildfire in the internet browsing and application market tend to have one very important detail in common, they are free. No initiation fee, no hidden fees, no money out of your pocket whatsoever. When the inception of YouTube first commenced, it truly was an amazing website. Videos from all over the world, and virtually any material you could imagine, were quickly beginning to be cataloged. This was all before YouTube decided to bow down to the overseeing powers that be.
Before someone could blink twice, YouTube begin a process of dramatically stripping content from their site. When Hulu was created, suddenly all of the content that they owned and operated was ripped from the YouTube servers. The first prime example of this was the “Lazy Sunday” video by Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell. Since it was originally aired as a Saturday Night Live Digital Short, obviously NBC owned the rights to the video itself. The number of viewing public that saw it on the show and subsequent reruns paled in comparison to the reach achieved by this video popularity on YouTube.
The millions upon millions of views garnered by this video not only reinvigorated Saturday Night Live, but paved the way for the success of Samberg’s comedic musical group The Lonely Island. Yet, suddenly, one day, a YouTube search of this video led to absolutely nothing because Hulu had retained all the rights to the NBC programming. NBC now currently shows a lot of the different video shorts from Saturday Night Live on their own personal website, but beyond someone holding a camera up to their television creating a lackluster recording, they will not be found on YouTube.
This example illustrates the beginning of the end for YouTube. Ads increased, the ability to record musical performances to share with friends decreased due to companies such as Clear Channel Entertainment and Time Warner Music doling out copyright violations like detentions in a rough high school. The YouTube that once was is certainly no more. The new additions since then that have been a move in a positive direction are the partnerships and streams from music festivals. That movement is something they have had a significant hand in growing in the United States, but may be the last frontier in customer benefiting innovation.
With this new pay for music service, and movies as well, but that has already been happening for quite some time, YouTube is no different from Apple’s iTunes and Google Play. Many even feel that Google Play came into the game far too late to make an impact, so why does YouTube think they have an advantage in getting people to pay for things that are easily accessible for free elsewhere is quite perplexing. The end game of this will be pushing a larger amount of consumers towards Spotify and Pandora, that is unless YouTube is able to secure enough exclusive music to leave people with no other options, but that is highly unlikely.
Written by Michael Blain