Using YouTube to Sell Songs Via iTunes & Amazon

When I saw the recent “I’m on a Boat,” feauring SNL’s Andy Samberg and T-Pain, I felt like I was seeing an ad for a song.

Turns out, Samberg has created an album/label called The Lonely Island (with NBC and others) to market his rap parodies. Interestingly, he’s not using the YouTube/Google “sell video” checkout feature I wrote about last week, but placing ads to drive iTunes or to purchase the song for a buck.

Now why would someone buy $25 per thousand views (CPM) ads on that video, but not offer to sell the video on YouTube/Google? Has Samberg been overlooked for the “buy video” pilot? Does the label have an exclusive with iTunes/Amazon? Can the math work if indeed he’s paying the rate-card ad price of $25 for InVideo ads (perhaps he relinquishes his partner income in exchange for discount ads)? The label would have to sell more than 25 copies per thousand views to simply break even.

Any alternative theories? Or, like most, do you simply care more about this video than the economics? 


I'm on a boat song

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

28 thoughts on “Using YouTube to Sell Songs Via iTunes & Amazon”

  1. You know, I love Andy Samberg and his digital shorts, but this one I did not really get. So he’s on a boat. Big deal.

    I much prefer the one making fun of the Iranian president and the lazy sunday one.

    Oh and I HATE laser cats.

  2. I’m still trying to figure out why anyone would buy this? Though I’m a saver not a spender, least these days.

    I think he cut a deal and the contract allows him so much cash for PR, no one is watching the budget, it’s on automatic or some third party is in control and no one has a clue how it works. I suspect unshakable corporate mindsets are at the helm.

    I’m finding out that the world is run by stupid people, me not being one, it’s down right infuriating, I’m re-examining the idea of eugenics. Not really, well, just a little. Perhaps, I should consider joining cult? HELP!

  3. I take that back. It was stupid to say the world is run by stupid people. Nor do not condone eugenics or a mass alteration that would wipe out any particular people, animals or ideology, we should all live and search for a peaceful coexistence. I apologize if I offended anybody or anything. Everyone has a right to be stupid, even me.

  4. I apologize for the last apology, it didn’t have that ring of sincerity I was looking for and what one would expect from an apology in this day and age. I’ll consider taking an ad out and perhaps post a video to make it appear at least more earnest. Apologies again for my guilelessness.

  5. This is aimed at no one in particular:

    It’s too bad that acknowledging the truth of science, and Darwin in particular, allows some to justify their hate. The so-called “Darwin Award” is an example of this. I keep seeing comments on YT saying things like “ugh, that person is so dumb. Too bad natural selection isn’t at work on humans anymore.” Like we’re so smart and everyone else is so dumb. And I saw another comment that said something like “modern medicine doesn’t allow natural selection to work anymore.” OK. I hope that person remembers that when they or their family is in the hospital. And archaeologists have found clear evidence that humans have shown empathy and caring for the sick for a long time.

    And you don’t find these kind of comments coming from just liberals or conservatives. It seems that everyone is a little messed up. It’s like we have too much seemingly conflicting information and it’s hard to figure out what the right thing to do is, or what the right way to think is. #4 seems pretty close.

  6. @7 A philosophical discussion!

    This guy advice reminds me of The Secret or Taxi Driver. I can’t decide.

    But, I took it and wrote my lotto numbers down 😉

    Looks like some on Wall Street also took his advice, but at what price? As a nation right now I think we are in a collective consciousness holding pattern of failure searching for the bottom.

    As a people I believe we can have anything we want, we just don’t seem to want much of anything. Perhaps that’s why the Wall Streeters keep winning.

  7. Naltsy, you have to know that you don’t pay to put up links to your own songs now. If you’re in Content ID, you can put up those “buy song” ads without paying. Though, I am not in it (yet), so I don’t know the specifics of what percentage YT takes.

    That said, if you have a musician account, you can also put up these links without being in Content ID. I think Content ID should be a part of the partner program, though. A lot wouldn’t really take advantage, but many of us have a lot of content that it would help monetize further.

    And the new YT Google checkout thing, I doubt Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, or Akiva Schiffer know about. They have to worry WAY less about making money now than a few years ago.

  8. I like Peter’s theory that it didn’t cost anything for them to throw up the ad to buy the album.

    Alternatively, is it possible that the video/album itself is a loss leader, being funded by NBC in hopes of getting some much-needed attention to pull them out of last place in the big network ratings? Considering that, as Conan O’Brien often puts it “We’re number 4!” it might be worth their while for NBC to do whatever they can to get talent endorsed by their network out to the public. So they overspend on advertising, underprice their music, and hope to the deity of their choosing that people realize that NBC is behind this and tune it to watch SNL next week.

    Hey, that’s not a bad theory. I should really go into marketing. Any marketing managers out there hiring? I’ll relocate!

  9. @10 now that’s what I call a baadermeinhof! – that’s twice this week and it’s only Tuesday!

    RE: Elienation – I think we’re turning Japanese I really think so

  10. I’m thinking that Samburg was overlooked by the soft launch of the program, but I also think that he and his label are more interested in selling music vs. video? Or, I’m missing something, as usual…but that’s why I read your blog.

  11. @Rhett – It’s quite logical to think he/they may have been overlooked (or overlooked it themselves). They are not indies; they aren’t looking for every possible way to make money on their own. That’s what they have a label/tv network for.

    @Jim – Also quite plausable. They may be 4th in ratings, but they have some of the best talent in the industry on that channel. They are first when it comes to late night television, and comedy Thursday has worked quite well for them. As a whole, though, people do not think about NBC like they do with Fox. Fox has Animation Domination, 24, House, American Idol… etc. They have a hit in every category and spread them out over the course of the week.

    But we do have to keep in mind is still owned and operated by The Lonely Island, and not NBC. Obviously, they work for NBC, so you will see some connection. But for a very brief period of time on day 2 of Jizz in My Pants’ domination of the Internet, it was taken down because of a copyright claim from NBC Universal. I’m almost thinking Akiva Schiffer (the director of the group) put it up without asking/telling NBC. It was back up within hours (so obviously the benefits of having it there were explained), but I am thinking it was not planned that JIMP would be a YouTube hit (they most likely wanted it to be a Hulu joint, based on their interests there).

    I don’t think we are going to figure out what EXACTLY is the motivation for the way that song/video is being monetized, but I think it’s safe to say it’s being handled less than perfect (or perhaps simply too old-school). If anything, this is a good example of something we can learn from (good or bad I’m not 100% sure yet). Hopefully as the content ID and checkout features become more widely available we come up with good ways to take advantage of both…

  12. One thing I really wish they would do is make a multiple audio track option… The ability to put up better mixed versions of songs, or re-dubs, or commentaries even. It would pretty much kill the need for DVD/physical product.

  13. I spoke to the woman at YouTube who is in charge of this program, it’s a branding feature like banners and stuff, you’re not paying for that lower-third ad, and then still run a google ad in the image area next to your video.

  14. As far as I understand it, he is not paying to place the ads at all.
    I am currently in discussions with YouTube about placing these iTunes and Amazon links on all my (record label) videos.
    It is completely free – I presume that YouTube get the affiliate percentages from any click-thru’s to fund this?
    It is a service that they provide alongside the “Click to download” links that I am also interested in.
    That is all the information I have currently, but those iTunes and Amazon ads are not costing the channel owner a penny as far as I am aware. Hope this helps.

  15. I agree with Sukatra. I find Laser Cats annoying, although for the most part I love the SNL Digital Shorts. My favorites are the Narnia one, the Iranian president one, and, of course, my all-time fave, Dick in a Box.

    Want to see what Odyssey of the Mind is all about and why I’m stressing and have been absent of late? Just click.

  16. i bet google is not charging them for the ad and testing out how it will work. they seem to like through everything at the wall and see what sticks. just a guess.

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