Vadio provides a music video stream for radio websites that's synced to their audio broadcast stream. It's a smart concept with a lot of potential and a lot of challenges. But if they can take their focus on the audience experience and find enough radio partners, they have the chance to benefit from a unique idea.
Vadio's core product is a method for syncing YouTube and VEVO music videos to the audio stream of a radio statio featuring a web player. The basic concept was established last year when I first wrote about it though they were in a quiet development phase.
Vadio Builds a Foundation
I spoke with Bryce Clemmer, co-founder and CEO, earlier this week about their development. They're currently based between Portland and Los Angeles and are graduates of the Amplify LA accelerator.
They have some true believers having received a $750,000 angel round in 2012. Clemmer sent me a list of investors:
Wieden & Kennedy, Amplify,
Marc Geiger — Partner/Head of Music at William Morris Endeavor, ranked #9 in Billboard's Power 100 of 2013, co-founder of Lollapalooza
Dean Gilbert — Former VP of Product Management at Google and VP/Global Head of Content and Operations at YouTube
Jay Boberg — Former President of MCA Records/Universal Music Group
Bruce Eskowitz — Former CEO of North America Music Division at Live Nation and President of National Sales and Marketing for Clear Channel Entertainment
Michael Goldfine — CEO of RockStream Studios, former President of AEG Digital Media
Rogue Venture Partners, Founders Co-op
Such contacts are likely coming in useful as Vadio appears to be in major biz dev mode with the core product in place. They are in talks with companies around the world and recently were added on at least two channels at Virgin Radio Italy. Additional announcements are expected soon.
Vadio Has to Grow Big
The big challenge for Vadio seems that of scale. They have to build a large audience so that they can then be in a proper bargaining position to speak with YouTube about ad deals or to be acquired by someone like Yahoo (however we didn't talk about acquisitions).
Clemmer emphasized that Vadio is focused on the viewer experience which fits such an approach. Radio stations using the web video player have seen a dramatic increase in web engagement. Since they can monetize the page views and want to build their web audience, it may not be an easy sell but it should be of interest to any commercial station that doesn't already have a major video solution.
Given that the video flow follows the radio format, instead of running preroll ads for specific videos, Vadio could run video ads at the point the radio station goes to an audio ad. I'm sure some kind of ad unit could be incorporated in the player as well but the danger of having too many ads is very real, especially if one is relying on YouTube videos.
So Vadio appears to have a lot of potential with a great product but also a huge challenge in terms of business development and audience building.
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.