Will the “Video Revolution” Be As Muted as the “Audio Revolution”?

My friend Jack wrote this rant about online videos, and he said I could steal it. Click "more" below for the entire piece. Here are some highlights.audio.jpg

  • The revolution will be televised; but its just seems we needed to wait untill the television is really a large flat-panel LCD monitor with a PC hooked into the Internet.

  • The Consumer Generated Content Internet “Video Revolution” needs four things to hit tipping point: 1. eyeballs, 2. adoption, 3. famous and/or popular mavericks, and; 4. easy-to-use payment systems supporting artists.

  • Want to predict the future of the Video Revolution? Look at the Audio Revolution. Common independent music artists are still eating Ramen Noodles just like the 80’s and 90’s. Thanks to software like Garage Band, we have lots of tools to make the stuff…. However, no one really showed up with a system that paid artists directly and easily.

  • Really the Audio Revolution focused on pirated music of famous artists, not original content. More than six years past the commercial birth of the Internet we tune in to FOX and American Idol (on TV) to find our new music stars and not the Internet…all on a show made famous by a maverick record label guy from the UK who stole the idea for the show in the first place. We use our phones to vote; we can’t even e-mail it in.

  • This Audio Revolution was followed quickly followed by the Lawsuit Era.

  • Why did the Audio Revolution fail? No model to pay content providers. What if a presidential candidate put his/her videos exclusively on Revver (which pays content creators), with ad clicks going to the campaign bucket? “Sorry CNN.com, put the video town hall on your homepage via Revver or nothing at all for you.”

What’s it going to take for the little Internet video folks to make some OK bank?I am all for people finding a way to make and post videos online, entertain me and make some coin off it. After all the revolution will be televised; but its just seems we needed to wait till the television is really a large flat panel LCD monitor with PC hooked into the Internet for the revolution. From my view the ‘CGC Internet Video Revolution’ needs four things to be at the tipping point to really take off:

  1.  
    1. eyeballs

    2. adoption

    3. famous and/or popular mavericks

    4. easy to use payment systems supporting artists        

I don’t think anyone is going to dispute the 1 and 2, and that we are getting close or past the tipping point here. Broadband is in lots of places; and people who have broadband want and post more consumer generated content  . We now go to multiple places for our content (Internet, satellite radio, small little DVD players in our cars); thus we have moved past the airwaves and our cable TV. It all seems to be ready for ‘primetime’.Yet things seem to be going slow; smart talented people like Nalts can’t make enough money to cover his fast food drive thru bills (disclaimer he does has 4 kids) posting his funny videos online. Why? Where are all (or any) famous Mavericks using online video systems that profit the content generates (dare I say artist) themselves?Ok so maybe you don’t believe the maverick theory or don’t think that payment models and systems are that important; so lets look to the past.Many many Internet years ago (maybe seven) the promise of the web was that it was going to push the boundaries of music (make it more variable, free music, happy well paid small independent artists). So lets look at what has happened here and compare.Audio (unlike video) is smaller; and more portable. Yet where are my acers and acers of free or ad only websites giving me royalty free high quality music (that’s not a copyright violation) that’s downloadable or highly controllable? Where is my story of a person (not a corporation) who has made it big, or even a basic living, by creating music, posting it on the web and thru some combo of ad sales, concerts, t-shirts, book deal, micropayments, or trading of farm animals making a living. Common independent music artists are still eating ramen; just like the 80’s and 90’s. Thanks to software like Garage Band  we have lots of tools to make the stuff and with the web plenty of outlets to show it. However, no one really showed up with a system that paid artists directly and easily. Really in the end the audio revolution was pirated music of famous artists, not original content. This phase was followed by lawsuits, a napster retool, Yahoo got in the mix, and Steve Jobs showed how damn smart he is. Today all of it is focused on controlling famous artist tunes.Results: Little non famous artist = Nothing. Record Labels = Not sure yet, and scared silly.Why did the Internet revolution not make a SINGLE breakout music artist yet?Why?

1) No Audio Mavericks! 2) No systems that paid artists with ease!

Name a big name person who has broke from the record label system; someone with even a moderate following and really used the web and not follow the system. Smashing Pumpkins Lead Billy Corrigan rebelled against the studio system; giving away his bands last album on vinyl to a handful of fans; allowing people to post the double album as MP3’s without issue or cost almost 6 years ago! However with his follow-up effort with Zwan released in 2003 we saw him back with a label and little use of the Internet, and his recent independent album was more of the same. Now the pumpkins are getting back together and it looks to be on a record label. You may hate this man, his previous relationship with Courtney Love, and/or his music but he is not a poster child of conformity here.Dave Mathews Band (DMB) and Prince have also had huge blowouts with labels and make tons of money of touring yet they have yet to embrace the web. DMB used to support taping like the Grateful Dead but they too bowed to label pressure. Prince hated his label so much he changed his name to a symbol to make contracts annoying, yet he (and DMB) are still in the traditional studio and label system today. Without big names making the change and breaking the mystique of the new channel known as the Internet, public perception did not change. Also name a system that easily gave artists money for listening to their audio? I cannot. All you had here was consumer demand, no payment platform, no famous Mavericks.  Bottom Line: More than six years past the commercial birth of the Internet we tune in to FOX and American Idol (on TV) to find our new music stars and not the Internet…all on a show made famous by a maverick record label guy from the UK who stole the idea for the show in the first place. Hell we use our phones to vote; we can’t even email it in. The Internet has done very little for small original musical artists.So why should video be any different? Well for one Revver actually makes money for content providers; and is fairly easy Yet no one beside a hand full of people seem to know this; especially the famous Mavericks.Kevin Smith (of Clerks and Dogma fame) pimps and hawks his own stuff online all the time; he has a video blog showing behind the scenes making of his new film Clerks2; with clips in YouTube and QuickTime. Here is a man who is very smart, does things for money and love, has TONS of web traffic and droves of fans, yet does not use Revver (whose native format is in QT)? Nope, not even when he could make a buck or two. If Smith used Revver he might bring his posse of fans along and they would stay; support other funny artists, or make stuff themselves. (FYI I give Smith and his production company crew TONS of credit for doing exclusive stuff on MySpace and YouTube; he now even has a viral banner campaign…I just can’t figure out why he is missing out the Revver thing).Josh Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire and FireFly fame) have tons of people making fan websites; yet find a place where Josh posts his own video stuff? I can’t. If he came out and supported a Revver like model how many of his fan film base would wake up and say, ‘damn we can re-coop costs’. Hell he writes a comic book; lets hear him talk about that even on Google Video. Hello Marvel are you listening?Al Gore (of I was almost the president of the United States and I invented the Internet fame) has a new movie out; trailers in Youtube, Google Video, Apple, iFilm…again no Revver. If he posted the trailer in Revver exclusively he might have made thousands (seriously!) for his charity. Think of the next democratic president candidate only doing Revver; with ad clicks going to the campaign bucket. Sorry CNN.com put the Revver video’d townhall talk on your homepage or nothing at all for you.These people make a living off a motivated and self identified base of customers (yes Mr Gore even you). It will take Mavericks like them (and many more) that bring needed cache and highly motivated people. These people will in turn use the tools, bandwidth, interact and pass along the content, and build and post their own stuff.  It’s easy for the Maverick to make money in the space; and unlike audio everyone can work on the same platform to produce that revenue.Bottom Line:Until famous and/or popular Mavericks embrace and promote their own work in a video format that easily financially supports content generators (like themselves); the masses will struggle. Maybe the tides are starting to turn…Tom Green (of I was on MTV and married Drew Barrymore fame) comes to the Web every week live and his own website and sponsor/host Mania TV (often down). And unlike Bill Maher’s (of some how I became a talk show blowhard via comedy fame) HBO downtime gig with Amazon.com; at least Tom Greens sponsor website says their site lets artists become famous. However, I am not sure if Internet fame ALONE can feed four kids at Burger King.

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.