The Borgle is doing it again - after Google Maps ripping off MapQuest, Youtube is out to jack SoundClick.
Before I got into the search marketing community, one of the first online communities I really got involved with was the hiphop community. I’d seen 8 Mile, loved the ’seize the day’ message in its theme song and gone home to look up lyrics to the rap battles in it. As things happened, one such community site ranked for the longtail phrase I’d looked up, one thing led to another and the next thing you know I was writing, producing and recording my own songs. Of
course, I wanted people listen to them, so like my friends who were already sharing their music, I joined Sound Click - a music social media network that was around ages before Myspace.
SoundClick combined some features to make its site very, very addictive.
First, it had charts. So once you uploaded something, it would get played and assigned an arbitrary spot in the charts. Then, as more people listened to it, downloaded and voted for it, your song moved up the charts. As anyone who’s produced egobait knows, competitive folks will make a big effort to rank higher.
Soundclick Instrumentals Charts
Second, it gave you the ability to make your own profile page, answer questions about the types of music deals you’d do (which let us mediocre unknowns delude ourselves like someone cared enough to read it ) and so on. While I can’t speak for others, I spent countless hours editing and refining my answers. If you bought a membership, you were given greater ability to customize your page with layouts, additional information etc.
Third, SoundClick gave you some rudimentary analytics such as how many plays a song had gotten, highest positions on the charts etc. Just like standard web analytics, these were highly addictive numbers. Paid members got even more data to gnaw on.
SoundClick also offered advertising and promotional options. For paid members, this meant that your new songs got a certain visibility on the site’s ad blocks, and for unpaid members, this meant the opportunity to buy visibility for your tracks. The Borgle is now offering the same opportunity: https://ads.youtube.com/index
Of course, SoundClick’s genius lay in the ability to stroke your own ego: you could manipulate the charts and analytics if you bought their promotional packages. Bragging rights about hitting number were a big deal.
And some people even got truly attention from it. I recall some guy recording a mixtape song with Nas as a result of his success on Soundclick.
Turns out, as Danny Dover has explained, Youtube has a community that is really competitive. Which is understandable, since Youtube has a number of charts that correlate explicitly with particular metrics - and more so than what Soundclick had (they rolled all the metrics into a single chart per genre/subgenre). And get this - Youtube is offering its own custom analytics to advertisers (hattip: Greg Sterling’s post on the new Youtube ads). Barry Schwartz has screen shots.
Is 2009 too aggressive of a goal for Youtube to break even? All it’ll take is a couple of success stories showing up in the media about people whose ads on Youtube bought them the distribution that led to a record deal. Then the copy-cats will flood in, bid up the ad rates and Youtube will become a cash-cow.
Of course, this buy-distribution-and-make-it-big idea can work beyond just music. The video highlighted by Danny Dover lead to an advertising agency buying the rights to the video so they could make a TV-quality version. Aspiring screenwriters, playwrights, actors and so on could use it to advance their careers, or even sell subscriptions to premium video content of their own.
While we’re jacking other people’s business plans, why not throw in a Taxi or Major Contacts like setup and shout the opportunities with record labels from every rooftop?
Methinks that if you’re not too concerned about ethics and the Borgle’s monopoly of the web or perhaps creation of its own web, now’s a good time to buy their stock.
Is my Tin-Foil hat adjusted too tight or am I on the money? Are you worried about GOOG’s constant expansion and duplicating other folks business models? Their control of the distribution of information lets them get around needing a unique value proposition when launching copycat products since they can easily take market share by aggressively integrating the site into search results (OMGz! They’re producing thin sites with low value-add??! Spammers! ) . Let’s hear your comments!
Gab Goldenberg also writes his own search blog, as well as offering link popularity services.
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Mapquest v.2: Google’s Attack On SoundClick.com