We all know that YouTube pays the lowest royalty rate and has the least transparent royalty statements of any digital service. Due to really bad advice, artists and labels have been driving traffic to YouTube essentially for free and marketers misread the direction of this traffic in forming the belief that hits need YouTube. Actually, it’s the other way around. YouTube needs hits.
Taylor Swift’s 1989 release led the way on putting this YouTube situation back on the right track. Taylor’s videos were pretty much only available on the higher-royalty Vevo, and her label used a variety of tools to take down most of the other Taylor videos on YouTube proper. (So while it is true that Taylor denied Spotify, to say that somehow the business move was ill-advised because YouTube pays less than Spotify misses the Vevo point.)
Ellie Goulding is now extending the strategy in rather a brilliant way.
Elle’s video on YouTube proper for the new single “On My Mind” is merely a still image with a 30 second snippet of the audio track. When the video starts, a link to the official (and full length) video appears, sending fans to the official video on Vevo.
At the end of the snippet (clearly marked as a snippet in the YouTube metadata), graphics come up suggesting that the user stream the track on Spotify or Apple Music. (Of course, if the label didn’t include Spotify, Daniel Ek’s high priced lobbyists would no doubt go crying “collusion” to the Obama White House they have such easy access to.)
Links under the video drive the user to more artist locations outside of the tacky YouTube environment.
Of course–given that we are talking about the tasteless YouTube, Google managed to get two–count em, two–ads to run when I watched the snippet video, a pre-roll and an embed.
All and all, a great victory over the YouTube data mining honey pot. If the artist is going to drive traffic to Google, she should be able to direct her fans to a good quality experience at a reasonable price.