Yesterday I uploaded what I’m calling a “Video LP” for my album Erase This to YouTube. [watch it here] The Video LP consists of eleven different videos (one for each song on the album, and a personal introduction from myself), tied together by a YouTube playlist that will automatically roll through all eleven videos, in order, with the click of one button.
For music listeners and fans, the Video LP (LP referring to “long playing”, the name given to 12” vinyl records in the 40s) is a great format for sampling an entire album before making a purchasing decision. It’s similar to streaming the entire album on my website, but better. The Video LP format allows for on screen lyrics and all of the liner note artwork typically associated with CD and record sleeves. You won’t find that on most streaming mp3 players.
Additionally, because each song is its own YouTube video, songs can be favorited, commented on, embedded and shared easily, in a format that listeners/viewers are already familiar and comfortable with.
For Musicians and Labels
For artists, the Video LP is a great way to share your music while being able to brand and monetize the entire experience. When fans embed mp3 players on other sites, you lose almost all branding, and definitely aren’t able to monetize those streams because they are happening outside of your website. This is not the case with Video LPs, as the embedded video can be visually branded, and, if you’re a YouTube partner, your ads remain inside the embedded video player, so you’re paid for every single stream of your song, whether it happens on YouTube, your website, or a fan’s blog.
While most musicians see free streaming as a loss leader, or necessary evil in marketing, the Video LP format could change that. Not only do you get all of the advantages of free streaming, but there are none of the disadvantages. The Video LP can now be added as yet another stream of revenue for artists. My Video LP received a total of over 4,000 views in just the first 12 hours. Every single one of those views was monetized.
Video LPs also have a much higher chance for discovery. Unless your website ranks incredibly high in Google search results for common keywords like “free”, “streaming” and “music”, your latest upload probably isn’t reaching too many new fans. YouTube, however, is the best kept secret in searching. YouTube is the second largest search engine – only beaten by its owner, Google – meaning more people search on YouTube than on Yahoo or Bing. That’s insane. It also means YouTube is the perfect place for your new music to be found. And with less competition from white hat and black hat SEOs, you may just find your Video LP clips placing relatively high in YouTube’s search results.
For those of you concerned with YouTube’s compression quality, if you stream my Video LP at 720p (or in “YouTube HD”), you’ll hear they are roughly equivalent to 256kbps MP3s.
The Main Advantage
The final main advantage I find is that, while I don’t have any hard data to back me up, I know personally I would subscribe to someone’s YouTube channel before I’d subscribe to an RSS feed for a blog. And given that I spend more time on YouTube than I do in Google Reader, I’m also more likely to see a YouTube update than a new blog post. This would allow for continued video updates about new tours, recordings and merchandise for sale.
I’m failing to find any disadvantages here, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Video LP format. Again, you can view the Erase This Video LP here. Share your thoughts below.
Alan Lastufka is the President and co-founder of DFTBA Records. His label was named Best Online Music Label of the Year by Mashable in its first full year of operation.
DFTBA is an initialism for “Don’t Forget To Be Awesome”.