Ads Creep Onto Official Artist Web Sites
As easy and often justified as it is to criticize the major labels, I've also always tried to maintain a sense of balance. These are, after all, also the companies that helped bring us some great music; and they are often staffed by decent people desperately trying to figure out how to shift their large corporate ships before the changing winds sink them.
So when Universal and Sony launched VEVO, as a way to control and monetize the videos they were producing, I was skeptical but sympathetic. Sympathetic because it seemed as if Google's YouTube and everyone except the labels were making money from these videos, and skeptical that the net income generated would not offset a legion of turned off fans. But why pre-judge? Why not wait to see what happens?
Check out the ad that runs before the music video on the front page Jamey Johnson's web site. Yes, it's a paid Pedigree ad for rescuing animals. But when a fan takes the time to find and visit an artist 'sown web site, they expect to see... the artist. And to think that Johnson is being touted by Universal as an authentic artist in a world of manufactured country music. I guess it costs more to be authentic.
Just as when they are on the stage, an artist's web site is one of the few places where they could control everything about the message that they were sending to their fans. Not anymore if VEVO gets its way.
And how much of the revenue generated by these ads will find its way to Jamey Johnson and other artists who have ads placed in their video pre-roll and on their label controlled "official" sites?
Or is all the money just swallowed up by a system designed to control and monetize music videos?
UPDATE: Hypebot readers are commenting that this is an MTV video player. If so my response is the same: Using ads to support music has it's place - but not on the artist's web site. - Bruce Houghton