This is How We Mash, 2011Business Models

I know I said I wasn't going to write more about mash-ups but this is one of the better examples of corporations making use of the new ways people interact with music content so I wanted at least to nod in their direction. Vevo puts a lot of official music vids up on YouTube. As I mentioned back in March, there's now an expectation that your device will be able to connect to the cloud and get you the music you want so there's really no need to keep your own MP3 copy of it. Vevo is supplying this demand with tons of free music, and taking the opportunity to promote itself, its artists, and its corporate and advertising partners along the way. I can't tell you if they're making money at it, but I applaud them for trying to build a new business model. Now if your device happens to be a hand-held mobile device (still called a phone for about the same reason we called cars 'horseless carriages' at one time) then your likely method of pulling from the cloud will be an app. And as part of its strategy, Vevo has teamed up with YouTube to release an app that attempts to fulfill users music needs by directing them to all this content Vevo has put on YouTube. And because they seem to be hip to their audience Vevo isn't just running ordinary ads for this app. Instead they've hired DJ Earworm, who is well known for his masterful mashes of pop music, to create a mash-up ad. Earworm has taken seven songs and videos from Vevo's content and produced a mash-up that promotes the app, Vevo, and YouTube. Free apps, and advertising, are notoriously hard to measure for effectiveness. If you charge for an app, or for content, you have easily available numbers that can be read for effectiveness. Whole books of economics are written around things like price elasticity and the balances of supply and demand – and all of them rely on simple transactional records to demonstrate their points. This here is much more slippery. Vevo needs to make a profit to stay in business. Will its advertising, its association with a popular remixer, and its head-first dive into providing free streaming music from the YouTube cloud help that? I have no hard numbers, but my gut tells me yes, they're on the right track.

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