YouTube's new subscription channels, a cable tv for the web, launched yesterday with two music channels on board, Qello (HD concert films and music documentaries) and Rap Battle Network. They're two of the more interesting looking channels in YouTube's odd assortment that seems to be angling for Middle America. Hopefully we'll soon be seeing more music channels exploring this potential revenue stream.
Here are some highlights from their announcement:
"We’re launching a pilot program for a small group of partners that will offer paid channels on YouTube with subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month. Every channel has a 14-day free trial, and many offer discounted yearly rates."
"For example, Sesame Street will be offering full episodes on their paid channel when it launches. And UFC fans can see classic fights, like a full version of their first event from UFC’s new channel. "
"Once you subscribe from a computer, you’ll be able to watch paid channels on your computer, phone, tablet and TV, and soon you’ll be able to subscribe to them from more devices."
"We’ll be rolling paid channels out more broadly in the coming weeks as a self-service feature for qualifying partners."
"Just as the partner program empowered creators to take their channels to the next level, we look forward to seeing how this great community of creators moves ahead with a new way to reach the fan communities that made their channels a hit."
Welcome to Qello
The Rap Battle Network provides edgier music-related content for $2.99 a month. Somewhere between Qello and UFC Select, rap battles do translate well to web video. Unfortunately their trailer was pulled "due to a copyright claim."
Qello and Rap Battle Network are the only music-focused channels included in the initial launch of YouTube's Subscription Channels.
It seems like there's plenty of room for genre and niche plays that could support a wide range of music channels. But once a pay-to-play audience is established it may become harder to participate as more channels pursue the opportunity.
Pricing will also be a concern with reluctant subscribers and the YouTube environment potentially creating downward pricing pressure.
Submit your YouTube channel for the Paid Channels program.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.