Disastrous start for VEVO – only 35 million visits

The new premium music video and entertainment service created in partnership by Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Media Company is already in trouble. VEVO managed just 35 million visits in December, a remarkably low number given the hype and marketing muscle of the corporates behind it.

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This is – or should be – a huge reality check for the music industry. The closing of Tower Records reflected the end of the old-school analog days, and the demise of imeem underlined the folly of trying to use old-style business practices online. Even with VEVO being run on the YouTube platform and picking up a large potential audience, the figures are dismal.

VEVO logoThe “Most Popular” music videos on VEVO also showed the problems of the service:  Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Drake, Lady Gaga, Jay Sean, Shakira, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift. Those artists will be popular anywhere BUT the problem is the inclusion on VEVO will just steal listeners/viewers away from other platforms.

Claiming “Music Evolution Revolution!” is just not backed up by the figures. The real Evolution and Revolution in music is happening elsewhere. For example, podcasts by trance DJs Above & Beyond already have 21 million listeners/viewers each week. In other words the immediate future of digital music is still iTunes and iPod, much to the concern of the majors.

Will VEVO bring us anything new? No. It is just a continuation of the old-school music cartels trying to channel our music appreciation – and it won’t work any more. Therefore we won’t spend new money via their platform. The real evolution of music marketing online will continue elsewhere – platforms like Pandora, Last.FM, MySpace and WordPress.

Why Twitter desperately needs YouTube and blogs – Social Media 2009 part 3

Although there have been some excellent and powerful examples of the communication benefits of the Twitter platform, most usage is casual (“just got home”, “just saw … in a shop window”). Therefore most usage on Twitter is little different to a status update on MySpace of Facebook.

There are also significant tweets that relate to information other than updates for family, friends or acquired followers. Sometimes that content becomes a trending topic, especially if tweets include hashtags. Even in those cases, however, Twitter is not the important part of the communication:

  • tweets are signposts
  • YouTube or blogs are the main destination
  • TwitPic or TweetPhoto (etc) are service stops
  • tweets are enhanced SMS messages

Twitter has many good points, however, and can be seen as a platform that provides options for:

  • replacing multiple one-to-one phone communication
  • replacing multiple SMS texts
  • an alternative to email (DM etc)
  • allowing status updates to be fully public

The last point is why Facebook has changed its privacy options. Once Google started to include Twitter content into search results, techies and CEOs on every other platform rushed to get on the “public trending” bandwagon.

As part 1 of this series showed, Google is in decline. However, search and trend are still big business and so big money. But as imeem and MySpace have found out in 2009, finances can go into decline once the Google dollars dry up.

If Twitter and/or MySpace and/or Google are to stop their decline or even recover, they need something solid. As web users have shown, they want content. In the past they were happy with the haphazard results of a search engine. But today’s web users will abandon one platform and try another, all within the space of 12 months.

Conclusion: crafted content is essential for success.

YouTube, BlogSpot, Twitter statistics for 2009

YouTube, BlogSpot, Twitter statistics for 2009

In other words, the way YouTube and blogs wrap content within context is the most likely model to succeed into the new decade. Magazines and newspapers were great at content delivery a few decades ago. The only ones making good money today tend to be in particular niche markets (finance, technology, entertainment, fashion, music, lifestyle, etc).

So called “general interest” newspapers and magazines with their social or political bias are in decline. We would rather gather our news from a selection of RSS feeds. Those feeds may come from established newspapers or magazines but will be balanced with feeds from special-interest blogs or a variety of world sources.

Social Media 2009 Executive Summary
The main sources of quality content in the next decade will come from WordPress, BlogSpot and YouTube, plus the new services that develop from those platforms and their ilk.

Why YouTube is more important than Facebook – Social Media 2009 part 2

The inter-relationship between MySpace and YouTube may be almost equal. The much better delivery of music videos on YouTube has probably helped reduce the number of views on MySpace, so contributed to the large increase in views on YouTube. The user experience on YouTube for someone who wants to hear and view music is also much cleaner and faster than on MySpace.

While MySpace remains a useful fanspace and gig resource, the decline in popularity has resulted in significant lost revenue, followed by the purchase and collapse of imeem. MySpace will remain relevant for music and niche marketing but:

  • many bands now use blogs for key information delivery
  • many bands now use Facebook for status updates

MySpace and Facebook continue to provide marketing and fanspace updates, yet YouTube captures astonishing numbers of viewers, again reflecting positive choices. Compared to Facebook, however, YouTube offers the high quality of a subscription service, without cost to the users:

  • YouTube Channels
  • YouTube Playlists
  • YouTube integration with other social media

The YouTube numbers are staggering. Yes, Facebook may have achieved monthly traffic of 90 million in 2009 but YouTube can achieve 90 million views on just one clip. For example Miley Cyrus has achieved 146 million views in 2009 with just two songs – The Climb (64m) and Party In The U.S.A. (54m) and those numbers will continue to rise.

Conclusion: YouTube is currently the most important social media platform.

MySpace, YouTube, Facebook statistics for 2009

MySpace, YouTube, Facebook statistics for 2009

Why WordPress and YouTube matter more than Google – Social Media 2009 part 1

Yes, there has been an explosion of users on Facebook and Twitter during 2009, yet other statistics drop those two platforms into the background. Even with millions of users and rapid growth, the monthly traffic on Twitter has already started to decline.

Our three linked posts provide a thumbnail sketch of growth and change at the end of the decade. They are approximations, best-guesses based on a wide variety of data collection methods. However, even if the numbers are incorrect by a few percent, we are not looking for numerical accuracy. Our interest is in comparing the trends and the relationships between the different platforms.

The chart below shows monthly traffic on Google has increased slightly over the past 2-and-a-half years. The more significant numbers are:

  • twice the number of people now use YouTube
  • WordPress has trebled its international user base

Google, one could argue, should have increased as a result of the increased usage on the other major platforms. Our hypothesis is that Google only provides links to content, while the other platforms have distinct advantages:

  • YouTube and WordPress are destinations, positive choices
  • YouTube and WordPress provide better context
  • YouTube and WordPress provide their own internal search and browse functions

In other words we suggest that Google is used mainly by newcomers or by those searching for content types that are new to them. Even Google being pre-loaded onto new PCs and browsers has not resulted in a dramatic rise, despite millions of new PCs and users over the chart period. Conclusion: Google is actually in decline.

Google, YouTube, WordPress statistics for 2009

Google, YouTube, WordPress statistics for 2009