Warner Music Group and YouTube are said to be close to a deal to bring music videos from Warner's artists back to the video sharing site. You may remember that Warner pulled their artists' videos in December of 2008 over a licensing rights dispute.
If the deal is struck as expected, videos artists like Madonna, Fall Out Boy, the B52's, and Green Day (as well as lots of others—even The Doobie Brothers) will return to YouTube shortly. Hooray.
Now, I don't know how many people were clamoring for Warner Music Group artists to be back on YouTube. But I am certain there are plenty of people looking for Madonna and Green Day videos. (Do music fans pay any attention to labels? I never do. I couldn't tell you what label my favorite bands are on if you paid me.) You know this is true. Because YouTube is now the most searched site after Google, there's a strong likelihood that some of those searchers are looking for music and music videos.
Obviously, striking deals with major music labels, Hollywood studios, and television production companies is absolutely crucial to YouTube's success. So this is just another feather in the cap for them… one more chunk of content they can offer their viewers. If there's a piece of video online that you would like to see, YouTube would love nothing more than to be able to serve you that video.
And it's working. As our own Christopher Rick pointed out recently, August was the biggest month ever for video—in terms of both audience size and total number of videos watched. Does anyone really think those numbers are going down anytime soon? No?
That's why this supposed deal makes as much sense for Warner as it does for YouTube. They need to have their artists represented on the number one video portal on the Internet. It's not like they can rely on music fans to come straight to the Warner site for videos (again, if they even know what label the artists are on).
There's another reason the label is anxious to get this deal done. YouTube's technology will be powering a new venture called Vevo—a portal specifically for music videos that already has the backing of major labels like Sony. Obviously, any disharmony between YouTube and Warner could cause stumbling blocks to Warner being a part of Vevo.
This is just another in a long line of events that further cement YouTube's position on top of the online video pyramid. Sure, Hulu is huge too, but they're strictly copyrighted content. YouTube's got all the user-submitted stuff happening, plus… thanks to deals like this, it's gaining more and more copyrighted content every day.