YouTube: Expanding as Music Destination

The nice people at YouTube have been changing things up a bit, adding more features to make sharing and uploading videos much simpler and a whole load more fun.

There have been at least five new features added to the site to make it better and easier for people to upload videos, including:

  • WeVideo – the cloud-based editor

The WeVideo feature allows the user to edit movies using media files from any device, and to do so in the browser. You can combine clips with music, effects, transitions, animations and titles. You can also share what you’ve just made to your facebook or your twitter, or any other social media site with one little, easy click.

  • Updated Video End-Screen

YouTube have redesigned the end-screen that appears when a video finishes playing. They did this so that it would make it even easier to find the next video to watch.

  • Enhanced Playlist Bar

When you have your videos in a playlist, YouTube decide that before, the individual details of each video weren’t clear enough. So they’ve changed them. You should now be able to read each videos information more clearly. They have also made the next, previous, shuffle and auto-play buttons stand out more.

  • Updated YouTube.com/Charts page:

This useful little idea means that you can keep track on the ‘latest and greatest’ on YouTube in relation to how many people have liked a video. You can see lists of the most-liked of the day, week, month, and even all time.

  • Smart Subscribe button:

If someone is watching a video, this feature will let them know if they are subscribed to the channel of the video that they are watching.

The expansion isn’t just within the site, either. YouTube has been localized in more countries and languages, too. This means that you can check what’s popular there (recent additions include Kenya, Singapore and the Philippines) by changing your location settings. These can be found at the bottom of the YouTube page, where it says ‘Location’. So now it’s even easier to check where your band’s hit it big.

 

However – the most important changes have come in regards to the independent artists and labels.

YouTube used to benefit music in two areas – breaking new stars that had only ever before performed to a webcam in their bedroom, and the major Record Labels who have profited from the huge digital audience their artists attracted.
In the past, YouTube forgot about the middle area of the independent musician and artists, but it seems like some of the recent changes and partnerships were made especially for them.

Last Monday, YouTube introduced to us their new Merch Store feature, which allows YouTube partners to sell merchandise, tickets, digital downloads and other sellable commodities directly to fans from the band or artists YouTube channel. The partner companies that have helped power this addition include Topspin Media for merch and tickets, and iTunes and Amazon for downloads. The addition of this feature to YouTube means a new avenue of engagement for artists and fans.

Last week also came the announcement that rights agency Merlin, that represents over 14,000 independent labels, will partner with YouTube. This news follows recent deals with indie labels – including Merge Records and Beggars Group, whose artists include Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend respectively. Earlier this year also came the settlement on royalties for music publishers between YouTube and the NMPA (National Music Publishers’ Association)

The change up that YouTube have implemented with their settings also include local concert listings, as well as the aforementioned YouTube Chart and playlist features.

 

New Indie Label Sign up:
YouTube has now also made it easier for indie labels to become partners with YouTube. This also includes labels started by independent artists to showcase and promote their own work. The new sign-up partnership form can me found here – and it really is that simple.


YouTube and Google + unite!
There is some limited integration with G+ hangouts at the moment, but to make it all a bit better YouTube users can now hook up their account to Plus directly. Woo. There is also talk of further integration in the future.

All of this majorly helps indie labels and artists, by giving them another social media-like avenue to sell their music, receive royalties for their work, advertise their gigs and engage with fans. We like. A lot.

This post was written by Zimbalam blogger Jess Boyer @jessroseboyer

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