Posted: 22 Feb 2013 10:15 AM PST
In this day and age, YouTube is potentially more influential than any other medium in turning a song from one which no one has ever heard into a hit of epic proportions. Thankfully the music industry has realized this unsavory (at least to them) fact.Music ChartsOnce upon a time the music charts were made up of one thing and one thing alone: How many physical copies of a song sold in record stores. Now, with the way people consume music, and other types of content for that matter, having changed, so has the methodology behind the charts.Several years ago digital downloads were added to the mix, as the industry realized it was fighting a losing battle against people buying digital rather than physical copies. Then came streaming services such as Spotify, which now also contribute to the charts.This week saw YouTube added to the burgeoning list of sources used to determine whether a song is a hit or not.YouTube BillboardIt’s being reported that Billboard and YouTube have been discussing such a move for several years, with the monumental rise of Harlem Shake forcing a decision to be made quickly.Harlem Shake is expected to top the Hot 100 chart this week mainly based on its popularity on YouTube. This suggests that Gangnam Style, last year’s biggest viral video hit, would have been number one for several weeks, if not months.Billboard hasn’t stated how much influence YouTube is going to have on the charts, but it’s likely that one physical or digital sale will be the equivalent of thousands of video views. Which makes sense, especially in order to stop the system being rigged.ConclusionsBillboard has been compiling the U.S. music charts for 55 years, so this is an exciting step in its evolution. Exciting though surely inevitable and also very much needed in order to keep the charts fresh and relevant.Now I’m off to watch some more music videos on YouTube knowing that each view is actually registering towards measurable success.[Via The New York Times]
YouTube has long been seen as a possible alternative to pay-TV offerings, with a mix of music videos, television shows, and movies providing the needs of viewers. To truly be an alternative to pay-TV, YouTube itself may start charging for access.
Original YouTube Channels
There has always been original content on YouTube. Once Google had (generally) rid the site of the copyright-infringing clips that were its lifeblood in the early days, videos created by real people like you and I became the mainstream fare.
In 2011 YouTube sought to up the quality of its original content, giving producers a budget in order to create content for 100 premium channels. That process is continuing, with YouTube adding many more channels to the line-up at the end of last year.
The next logical step would be to start charging people to watch these premium channels. Which is exactly what looks set to happen.Now With Added Charges
YouTube is rumored to be preparing to offer paid subscriptions for select channels, with viewers likely to be asked to pay between $1- and $5-per-month in order to gain access to the content they want to watch.
This is an effort primarily designed to lure more (and presumably higher-quality) producers into heading for YouTube. In the longer term it may also disrupt the existing cable television model buy reminding people they have other options open to them.
YouTube is also considering charging for access to live events and content libraries. Channels in the running haven’t been revealed, but “Machinima, Maker Studios and Fullscreen” have been mentioned.
The paid plan may be outlined as early as April, with subscription-based channels sprouting up not long after that. Revenue percentage splits of 45 (to YouTube) and 55 (to the content producer) are expected, which is the same as with the advertising model.
This is one hell of a move by YouTube. It makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, but is likely to cause consternation among the millions of YouTube users who are currently able to access everything (with the exception of movie rentals) for free.
In the short term I cannot see it working, as existing channels who switch to the new model will annoy their faithful viewers. However, in the long-term it could lead to an à la carte menu of individual channels being offered to cord-cutters. Which is a truly compelling future to look forward to.
Franklin is poised to launch service for its fiber optic loop around the community, a tool that should help bring more jobs to Simpson County.“It’s hard to recruit industry now if you don’t have (fiber optics),” said Dennis Griffin, industrial recruiter for Simpson County. “A lot of industries, particularly in this area, are satellite plants connected to their corporate offices, somewhere else in the United States. They all need to be connected by fiber.“So if you don’t have that, it’s hard to compete with communities that do,” Griffin said. “Ten years ago, you could get by with T-1 lines – now most industries are just expecting that you have fiber.”Carrying capacity in fiber is described in gigabytes, as opposed to megabytes on a T-1 line. Gigabytes allow for faster transmission of large amounts of data.“We are super excited about it,” said James McCaslin, associate vice president of academic affairs and director of Franklin-Simpson Center. “It will be like going from 1970 to 2013 with the flip of a switch.”The center, a division of southcentral Kentucky community and technical college, is essentially renting the fiber strands, with its Internet provided by the contractor of the technical college system.Tim Ross, who is part of the staff at the center, as well as a student, said he is looking forward to the switch.“You can sit in class now, and if everyone tries to log onto the Internet at once, it slows down the speed tremendously,” Ross said. “The same thing happens at businesses. Fiber will increase speeds regardless of who is on there.”The system will benefit current students and those students’ prospects in the job market.“It definitely will provide the potential for more job opportunities,” Ross said.Ross said he could see something like a data bank, where companies store their data off site, being established in Franklin as a result.“A friend of mine started a data bank in another community and that was one of the things he looked for was whether or not it had fiber,” he said.Griffin said the Simpson County Industrial Board has some prospects on the horizon that will benefit from the fiber network.“Our industrial parks are pretty far outside (the center of town) and we haven’t had fiber there. It’s been an important utility we were missing,” Griffin said. “So we are extremely excited, as are our industries, about getting fiber to these various places. Some of the inner community has had access to fiber, but most of the community has not.”Griffin is appreciative of the city and the money it has invested in the project.Franklin in 2005 received a $1 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration and has invested another $1.4 million in the project, according to Mayor Ronnie Clark.Clark said others, including Tammie Carey, did much of the work to get the system up and running.Carey, who helped write the grant and is now fiber services manager for Franklin Municipal FiberNET, said crews are finishing the final work with grant money, which has included constructing network buildings to house equipment, stringing fiber on utility poles and other work.“All of the fiber is in the air, splicers are in and we have a testing crew in town to make sure the system is working properly,” Carey said. “They should be done in two weeks.”One customer is already using the system – the giant Tractor Supply Co. distribution center. Fiber access was one of the company’s requirements for locating there.The fiber is being fed Internet service by Windstream.“We have looked at every aspect of the system and tried to build redundancy into as much of the system as possible,” Carey said. “There are three loops of fiber cable built around the city; there is redundant equipment in various locations around the city, and there is a primary and back-up company in place providing Internet service. So for the next phase of the project, the city is requesting proposals from companies that will make future customer connections, respond to emergency repairs when they are needed and ... assist the staff of FiberNET to monitor the network and provide support services.”Those proposals are due into the city no later than 3 p.m. Jan. 29.For now the service is just for business and industry, Clark said.A feasibility determined that it did not yet make sense to take fiber to homes, Carey said.They have, however, discussed the possibility of having a Wi-Fi umbrella over parts of town.“But no plans have been made,” Carey said. “We want to know how to crawl before we run the marathon. So we want to do one piece and make sure we are doing it well.”
By ROBYN L. MINORThe Daily News, Bowling Green
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