Archive for October, 2010
The new ad for Windows 7 phone has a similar message to “Mgmt in the New Digital World” and is hystericalPosted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2010 by PM Mgmt
Interlude, S-Curve, And VEVO Team To Launch Ridiculously Engaging Interactive Music Video <http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/OLYdOFUNFeY/>
via TechCrunch <http://techcrunch.com> by Jason Kincaid on 10/25/10
Head to leading music video portal VEVO <http://www.vevo.com> this morning and you’re going to see something that’s quite out of the ordinary: a new music video <http://vevo.com/videoevolved/andy-grammer/keep-your-head/> starring Andy Grammer that puts you in the director’s chair. Hit ‘play’ and things will start simply enough, with Grammer walking down an alley as he croons toward the camera. But after a few moments you’ll see a popup asking if you want him to “Bump into Movers” or get “Dumped by Bikers”. Better make up your mind — you only have ten seconds to make your choice, and it actually impacts which version of the video you’ll be seeing. It’s part video game, part choose-your-own adventure story, and it’s what you might call “engaging as hell”.
The video may well be a taste of what’s to come over the next few years as musicians, entrepreneurs, the labels, and web publishers work together to figure out the future of music content online. And it’s surprisingly fun — there are dozens of possible versions based on the choices you make, with variations that include everything from dancing housekeepers to multiple cameos from actor Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office). But the story behind the video is also compelling. Over the last week I’ve spoken with some of the key players involved with the production to learn how it was put together, and where they see things going from here.
If the interactive portion of the video seems vaguely familiar, it’s because we previously wrote about <http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/04/interlude/> the startup that’s building the technology behind it: Interlude <http://www.interlude.fm/> . This Israeli company was founded by Yoni Bloch — who is actually a well-known musician himself — and has developed a platform that can add this engaging, interactive layer to video content. Interlude put together a demo video of Yoni early this year, and it was a huge success in Israel — he tells me that 25% of the country’s Internet-using population watched it. And perhaps even more impressive: the engagement stats showed that nearly everyone watched the video more than once, so they could discover the multiple routes.
Of course, interactive videos aren’t exactly a novel idea — we’ve seen plenty of startups looking to add an interactive layer on top of video footage, and it’s even possible to use YouTube’s annotations feature to build some basic interactivity. The key distinction that Interlude brings to the table is an interactive experience that’s seamless: the content doesn’t pause as it waits for you to make your decision. Instead, you see an overlay for a period of time determined by the artist (for the Grammer video it’s 5-10 seconds), and the audio and video never cuts out.
It’s one thing for a startup to build a snazzy custom video player — but how do you actually get artists to use it? That’s where S-Curve <http://s-curverecords.com/home/> , a record label founded by former Columbia Records President Steve Greenberg <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Greenberg_(record_producer)> , came in.
Greenberg (who is also known for discovering The Jonas Brothers and is a Grammy-winning producer) says that S-Curve is still a small company, which gives it the flexibility and a very strong incentive to keep innovating as much as possible. To do that, the label is working to discover and foster new technologies that are related to the music business — and then to actually use these technologies with S-Curve artists (and help connect the companies with the rest of the industry). Along with Interlude’s interactive video project, S-Curve has also been involved with Hashtag art <http://www.hashtagart.com/> , which was used by Katy Perry.
In return for helping these companies get off the ground in the hard-to-crack music industry, S-Curve will sometimes take an equity stake in the company, which is the case with Interlude. Greenberg expects that Interlude’s technology will extend well beyond music— he says there’s been interest from the advertising world, producers of online webisodes, and a content creators from a variety of other categories. In short, he says “the only limitation is the creativity of the people making the video — lightbulbs are going to go off when everyone sees it”.
The third piece of the puzzle is distribution — you need people to actually see what Interlude, S-Curve, and Andy Grammer have put together. Cue VEVO, the music video portal that’s a joint venture between Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Abu Dhabi Media (EMI participates as well, and all VEVO content is syndicated to YouTube in a setup that still confuses me).
VEVO would be featuring Grammer’s music content anyway (S-Curve is distributed by UMG) but this video in particular is going to be given very prominent placement. The reason? It’s the first video to be part of VEVO’s new Video Evolved showcase.
VEVO CEO Rio Caraeff <http://www.crunchbase.com/person/rio-caraeff> says that the site wants to do everything it can to feature innovative music content — he says that “music videos are ripe for reinvention” and he wants VEVO to be a place to help these experiments come to life. So the site is setting up a separate section that will highlight these new technologies as they launch. In some cases, VEVO will simply be embedding content from other services onto the Video Evolved site. But in the case of Interlude, VEVO has actually integrated the startup’s video player into its platform, so it will be hosting the content itself.
VEVO is also doing something special to mark the launch of its first truly interactive music video: the site will be tracking which ‘routes’ made through the video are most popular and after two weeks this version will be considered the ‘official’ release — it will be the version that’s given to other content channels like television and YouTube.
There’s a clear theme running through all of this: the desire to discover the future of music videos and their interplay with the web, whatever that may be. And while it’s far too early to say whether this interactive music video technology will be as ubiquitous as the “static” music videos that came before it, I can say one thing with certainty: it’s pretty damn fun. Sure, it’s quite possible that the novelty will wear off after a few of these, but I found myself watching the video repeatedly just so I could find Dwight — the last time I was this engaged in a music video was Britney Spears’ Sometimes. I finally found Dwight, and it seems like the labels won too: I now have this Andy Grammer song stuck in my head.
After highlighting 5 songs that stood out to me in their respective brand commercials on television (See “Great Music in Ad Campaigns” section), I decided to check Soundscan to see if there were any effects from the campaign on that particular song’s digital sales. All 5 commercials have been airing heavily throughout September and October. Here’s what I found….
The song that seems to be resonating the most is Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros “Home” in the NFL campaign. In the three weeks leading up to October 18th, the song was up 41% in two successive weeks going from 5,066 to 7,121 to 10,029. Its a perfect song use for a campaign that highlights different hometown fans. One could certainly argue that the commercial is helping to drive awareness and sales. I should point out that Edward Sharpe has built a huge touring base and has various avenues of exposure.
Of the other 4 songs that I highlighted, none are selling large numbers each week in the scheme of things but there is a striking trend in 3 of them to note: big percentage gains in sales since their campaigns started. Jesse Harris’ “Secret Sun” in the Corona commercial had percentage increases in 4 of the last 5 weeks leading up to October 18th including a 359% increase followed by a 364% increase followed by a 93% increase followed by a 73% decrease and most recently was up 127% over the prior week. The Tune Yards’ “Fiya” from the Blackberry commercial had the following gains over the 4 weeks leading up to October 11th: up 617%, up 53%, up 195%, and up 20%. Los Campesinos’ “You! Me! Dancing!” from the Budweiser MLB playoff campaign saw increases of 116% followed by 215% in the 3 weeks in which the baseball playoffs started and the commercial aired heavily. Only Nick Drake’s “From The Morning” from the AT&T commercial was flat in terms of percentage gains which could be the result of it being an older song that may have had previous awareness already.
All in all, it seems that the answer is yes… the effective use of a song in the right campaign does affect sales.
NOTE: Sales information based on Soundscan information