YouTube Goes Music, Music, Music

It's just like this, only the radio is a laptop, and everyone's in a different room wearing gym clothes.

YouTube has agreed to pay licensing fees with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), which represents about 3,000 independent music publishers (LA Times). This deal is consistant with Vevo’s success, the significant percentage of music videos topping “most viewed charts” and the all-new (see promo video).

YouTube music vevo channel
YouTube "Music" Debuts: click to see promo video

YouTube, friends, is your new radio station, MTV, iTunes, Pandora, Jango, Live365. I’m Sirius.

This advances YouTube’s partnerships with music publishers to “monetize” user-generated videos that contain music written by artists represented by the NMPA. The four major labels (EMI Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment) already have separate licensing contracts with YouTube.

What’s relatively new is that these deals cover synchronization rights on behalf of songwriters. Yes, folks, this means independent musicians singing “covers” of a licensed song will be providing a percent of their ad-generated income to the owner (sorry jaaaaaaa). The terms of the royalty payments, however, are confidential. This, of course, is more than fair. Shouldn’t the guy who wrote the timeless classic, “Never Gonna Give You Up” get a chunk money from the ads that surround Rickrolls?

NMPA agreed to drop its class-action lawsuit against YouTube filed in 2007, but members of NMPA have until mid-September to decide whether they wish to opt out of the licensing agreement with YouTube or continue to pursue legal action against the video platform on their own.



Exclusive Snookie “Boob Grab” from Set of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” (July 2011)

snooki in july 2011

So we’re visiting the shore yesterday. And I used to refer to the Jersey Shore as the beach covered with needles, based on a news story from years ago.

But yesterday I couldn’t help mistake many girls at Point Pleasant, NJ, as “Snookie.” In fact I kept half-jokingly telling my wife I spotted Snookie, when anyone robust and tan passed me. Little did I suspect that while fetching hotdogs for the kids, I’d overhear someone saying “Snookie’s in there.” I resisted the temptation to walk into the bar, but later felt obliged to determine if it was real or not. It was real. Snookie was in the house.

Indeed I stumbled upon a taping of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and was able to capture some highlights. A couple times, because the cast moves about the bar, I’d end up in the right/wrong place and have to quickly move. I first shot about a minute of some other cast member (dancing on the bar) I mistook for Snookie.

Only after shooting and editing the footage did I realize (while looking for a thumbnail image) that I had footage of Snookie grabbing some blonde girl’s boobs. So, yeah. That’s a fourth of July video for you.

Anyone recognize the other people? Who’s the guy who shoed me away?


Weekly Prank Channel (pitch)

This is a rare post, and I’m not sure I should share this since someone may steal the idea. But I established this blog to “open source” what I’m learning as the only career marketer who is a prolific YouTube presence. Plus I think the idea is less valuable than the crafty execution.

Here’s my note to YouTube about a concept for a weekly channel that highlights the best pranks. Unlike my Nalts pranks or Edbassmaster or Jack Valet or PrankvsPrank, this would be American Idol meets MTV pranked with the mission of popularizing unknown prank creators. More importantly it would help curate the best pranks weekly in a way that doesn’t exploit the creator.

Thoughts welcome! 🙂

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kevin Nalty
Date: Thursday, May 5, 2011
Subject: Weekly Prank Show: win/win/win

Hey guys. For a while I’ve been planning on releasing weekly pranks on a specific day of the week (Wednesday), since
regular/consistant/predictable programming is becoming so vital on YouTube. Initially I was planning a “go solo” approach on the Nalts channel or on a new channel. But it’s a lot of work to produce a weekly prank, and there are loads of amateur pranksters like this one whose creator shared it with me via Twitter:

This “snake on fishing line” is hysterical (especially if edited down) and harmless, but won’t get likely views or repeat audience: Fishing Pole Snake Pranks

Solution? Create a win/win/win, where revenue is a 3-way split between a producer, me (host/promoter), and creators of harmless but funny pranks. I’m proposing this to YouTube to see if there’s still interest in custom content and programming. It might be a candidate for YouTube Next Whatever if that train hasn’t already left the station. Otherwise you may know of a producer that’s already working with you in a “share” model instead of “house takes all revenue, and host/creator gets a capped check per video.” Not fair.

Unlike MTV Pranked, this UBER PRANK YouTube channel would invite submissions from viewers, but be clear that they can’t be mean, dangerous, or legally risky (they must either get written/video releases by “victims” or blur them). That solves what MTV pranked wants (no liability for encouraging pranks). And we’re not talking about “kick friend in nuts,” but family-friendly “Candid Camera” style experiments that aren’t so damn overproduced (expensive) as some of the repeat failures on TV…

What’s In It For Key Players:

• People like pranks, but the good ones are hard to find. With exceptions like Edbassmaster, few are producing regular prank content, and a lot of it’s just mean/stupid. Most pranksters also couldn’t do well as hosts.
• While MTV Pranked is clever, it’s too long-form and overproduced for YouTube. It’s also only mining for pranks instead of inviting new/fresh ones. is a nice model, where AFV producer Vince DeBono? joined Sxephil and Tobuscus- popular YouTube web stars who know the medium and promoted it.
• The target would be teens AND parents… Like “Farting in Public,” it would appeal to the child in all of us.

Amateur Pranksters:
• They’d get their pranks seen in ways they couldn’t do alone
• They’d get either cash or rev-sharing in ways not possible today… avoiding the AFV model where they release it exclusively and lose downstream rights or upside. That’s clearly not creator friendly (imagine if “David at Dentist” had gone that route… no upside). There would be absolutely NO “exclusive” requirements, and ideally a model that rewards the creator if the video POPS. The creator would give non-elusive rights and ensure ownership of content and releases.
• The channel wouldn’t hide the creator. … they’d get links to their own channel and maybe develop their own following. Maybe the sub box features all contributors.

Host/Director (me):
• I’d love to feature new/emerging creators to help get their stuff seen. I’d position it more “ImprovEverywhere” than “PrankvsPrank,” which is funny as heck but a bit edgy for advertisers or parents.
• I could provide fun commentary and help edit the submissions down so it moves FAST like RayWilliamJohnson, CuteWinFail, etc. I can promote the channel via links from my top pranks, and this would also help me keep “Nalts” from going from Renetto to Mr. Pregnant.

Producer (or YouTube’s Next)
• They’d get 1/3 revenue for simply keeping the channel consistant, helping ID pranks, and overseeing the channel voice (with my active participation). I’d promote the show via my popular pranks and Nalts channel, but the producer would help with logistics and ensuring that we’re planning ahead for key holidays and recent buzz topics.
• They could also license the content for use beyond YouTube. I just want to ensure that creators aren’t themselves “pranked” by signing away rights for a small check and no upside.

• High-demand content that can be monetized (because we’d avoid pranks that are dangerous or mean… thus not “safe” or perceived safe by advertisers). You could provide it some love via spotlight… to help jump start it

Let me know if you’re interested! I always liked The Onion’s predictable release on Wednesday (a less competitive day for video releases, but easy to remember). Of course I’m also thinking that branding it “Prank Xday could be strong (and arguably critical) at the beginning, but potentially rate limiting if it grows into a larger format.


Which Will Last Longer: MTV’s PRANKED or COLLEGE HUMOR

I heard rumors that MTV isn’t going to renew College Humor, but I quite like the Pranked show staring Amir Blumenfeld and Streeter Siedell (haven’t these guys heard of friggin’ stage names)?

The College Humor brand is strong, and the web content is exceptional. But for reasons I can’t explain, this stuff doesn’t transfer to 20-minute shows. My frog prank video was on Pranked last night, which prompted me to watch it for the first time. I liked it… Amir and Streeter have good rapport, and added to the clips more than the typical WebJunk racket. I loved the teaser and outro… “This wife finds something slimy in her bedroom and it’s not her husband,” and “that poor frog had to touch those disgusting feet.” Playing it via TiVo was a fun way to wake up my wife this morning.

Hey- at least the show probably costs virtually nothing to produce (relative to a typical network show). We’re talking about a small crew in an apartment and paltry license fees for the clips. If MTV can’t profit on this show, then there’s too much overhead upstairs.

amir blumenfeld mtv

MTV Cribz Satire Gives LisaNova Last Laugh on MadTV

In a spoof of MTV Cribz, LisaNova takes you through her teen cribz with her “giant ugly bitch face” friend Jasmine (Kassemg with a remarkable ability to stay cross-eyed).

Lisa Donovan is showing MadTV (a show that had her for only four episodes) that she is having the last laugh.

This episode of the new “TheStation” also shows that high-production qualities can sometimes not get in the way of good comedy. See Ceciley Jenkins (a real actress!?) playing a slave, while the amateurs secure the key roles. A statement about the medium called YouTube?

This video doles out calculated repetition like Steve Martin’s classic sugar-pour, drops recurring gags in the style of Green Acres, and proves that even a 2-second cameo can have you steal the show.

TheStation chose to release outtakes on TheStation2 (a secondary channel that already has 140K plus subscribers- TheStation has 400K) before the release of this video… giving hard-core fans a bonus and “inside edge.”

Still not sure TheStation is a sustainable play, but I’ll be laughing until it folds or “jumps the shark,” and hoping it lasts as long as the latter. At the least, I think this will springboard LisaNova (and perhaps some of her accomplaces) into something bigger… and certainly give broadcasters a cause for curious concern.

Jake Fogelnest Puts Home Phone Number on Web

Jake Fogelnest — who in 1994 started a television show from his New York City bedroom when he was fourteen years old (see clip of Joey Ramone interview on SquirtTV) — put his home phone number on the Internet. Now THAT’S compulsive.

The NYC comedy writer, VH1 guest, and radio host has received thousands of calls from fans and former colleagues who are shocked when he answers or calls them back.

jake fogelnest phone number on twitter

Fogelnest, who hosts a daily show on Sirius, also boasts a writing resume that includes VH1, SNL, and MTV. You may well recognize him as a regular commentator on VH1’s I Love The… series.

Here’s his video explanation about the bold move (see him on YouTube here). We can only imagine what happens when the guys from telemarketing firms, Amway and the “Who’s Who” directories get his number, which is 646-484-5323.

I’ve met Jake through Hitviews, and he’s rather humble despite his hefty experience and tight relationships with the “who’s who” of comedy writing (including Adam McCay). Jake’s an easy going cat, except if you miss a deadline for a Hitviews sponsored video.

We’ll be watching this experiment from a comfortably safe distance, especially given the annoying 4 am ‘private-number’ phone call I received this morning (thanks).

Viacom Becomes Poster Child for Good Cause Gone Overboard

viacomm logo for public domainIf you think you have the worse job in the world, imagine working for Viacom in the public relations group. The organization has decided that, above all else, it must fiercely protect its copyrighted material. A worthy cause when your core asset is not your people, but your family of brands, movies and shows.

But is the legal attack on YouTube (which now appears to invade the privacy of YouTube creators and viewers) worth the fuss? Viacom is becoming the poster child for excess… a noble cause gone mannic like God-honoring terrorists. It’s making Disney look like Kevin MacLeod.

If you haven’t been keeping track, many of the most popular videos on YouTube right now anti-Viacom rants. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could hit the top of the “most rated” section if I shot a video of me pooping… as long as the title was “Viacom Sucks.” Heck- click here for a search on YouTube by the word “Viacom.”

TheReelWeeklyNews has made a whole cause out of calling out Viacom in a series of videos (with a somewhat annoyingly rhythmic speech pattern) that are further catalyzing the YouTube community’s absolute despise of Viacom. See video below.

Even the jaded are aghast. Viacom may have a legal right, but the PR damage will not soon heal. The real question is whether that damage will trickle down to Viacom’s otherwise beloved brands

We’re talking big names with strong equity: Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, even AtomFilms and AddictingGames.

In the meantime, I’m staying the heck out of it, and making videos of myself pouring candy into my coffee. A cause against Viacom will forge a temporary bond among advocates of privacy and freedom of speech. But it’s fleeting. Like Stephen Covey says about bashing people behind their back… it forms a cheap morter.

I’d avocate that the energy now placed against Viacom (or Scientology for that matter) would be more influential if it was directed to a positive alternative. Kinda like athiesm — being anti-God isn’t really a sustainable position. You gotta be for something else. For athiests, maybe that’s pro-science or pro-intelligence or something. Not really sure. God strikes me as a bit more interesting than science. And while I’m on this tangent, why are athiests always trying to prove God doesn’t exist and force believers to prove He does? I believe in God but if you don’t, it doesn’t really concern me.

So what is that positive alternative to Viacom’s madness? I dunno. I’ll leave that to smarter people. I don’t even know what net neutrality means, so I’ll go penis poke someone.