Audio-Visual Revenue Generation

Reinforcing the online media distribution revolution, the latest spate of music/video websites includes a promising Irish company that has secured partnerships with Sony BMG, Ninja Tune, Ministry of Sound and more…

I Want My Web TV has its headquarters in Dublin, but also boasts offices in Waterford and New York. Muzu was dubbed “New Software Company of the Year” by the Irish Software Association at its annual awards ceremony last week.

Muzu aims to provide an effective monetisation platform for music videos. The model is ad-based, with revenues being split 50-50 between Muzu and the artist, regardless of whether they are an unsigned act or The Ting Tings.

Social Behaviour

The company has also sealed a deal with Xbox 360 to promote the upcoming music game, Lips. They will be providing video services via the Xbox 360 site and on Bebo.

Interestingly, Bebo themselves have proposed an advertising solution for content providers (such as MTV) whereby companies create a Bebo page, place ads on it and keep 100% of the generated revenue. This strategy was devised to encourage content creation within the site, which is vital to retaining existing users and expanding the user base.

What’s New In Muzu?

Muzu Award (via SiliconRepublic)
On the face of it, Muzu looks much like any other video platform. There are a couple of things worth noting, however: firstly, there’s the revenue sharing. A Muzu video can be embedded on an artist’s own site, played on Muzu itself or on third-party sites such as MySpace – but in all these cases, any revenue generated is shared with the artist.

Another nice touch is the free recording studio; unsigned artists can arrange a session to record a song/video, live set or video diary. Muzu also offers a digitisation service, if you happen to have a Betamax copy of a great gig you did and don’t know how to get it onto the mighty Interweb.

Distributed Problem Sharing

Although having another monetisation channel is certainly good news for aspiring musicians, the issue of distribution is becoming more redundant by the day. Making your music available to the masses is easier than ever, and will become even more trivial over the coming months and years.

I recently came across Audiolife, a site “where artists make money”. This is a well-designed (free) service, where bands can upload music/artwork and sell their creations as physical CDs, downloads, ringtones or merchandise.

Audiolife also allows you to create shop widgets that you can embed in social networking sites such as Facebook, or indeed your own website. All in all, it looks like a fairly comprehensive sales, manufacturing and reporting solution.

Making A Market

This sort of service is great, if you already have a fanbase that’s willing to buy your stuff. It may even help you develop your fanbase, but , unfortunately, it won’t create one for you…

…which brings us back to marketing and promotion. This is the key to making a living from music, in any capacity, and will become ever more important, probably in direct proportion to the ubiquity of distribution services.

Realistically, if you want to earn from making music, you’ll need to either be a great marketer or hire a great marketer. Services such as Topspin are probably heading in the right direction; an integrated sales, distribution and promotion platform with the right industry connections will have a distinct advantage in the cloud of the future.

Unless your music is truly exceptional, getting people to listen takes a lot of work – even if your music is very good. People will always make music, and most of it isn’t very good – but there will always be money to be made in providing services to the long tail, especially for those who get there first with the right product.


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