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Hulu Singing A New Song

Nobody puts Hulu a corner, or so it would appear. Originally envisioned as a hub for long-form premium video content, the joint venture between NBC, Fox, and -- more recently -- ABC, is getting into the music biz.

For starters, it's announced a partnership with EMI -- the smallest of the four top music labels -- and giving artist Norah Jones her own dedicated "channel," which will feature her music videos along with various concert and interview footage.

While the Times' Bits blog describes the deal as "somewhat limited" -- "which is probably a sign that Hulu is declining to give the financial terms the labels are looking for" -- it says the plan is to add other EMI artists over time, as well as new Norah Jones material.

"The market for music is not as wide-open as was Hulu's opportunity with TV shows a couple years ago," writes NewTeeVee. "While a more limited approach is going to seem odd to users, it might be financially prudent; the music labels have been able to extract an arm and a leg for their content from many web startups, and Hulu doesn't want to give up any more of its limbs."

"While Hulu is the dominant premium video site, it is probably wise to stay away from the music video scene," advises The Business Insider. "Hulu has enough problems trying to appease its three owners as it is ... Adding more partners who want to exert their influence would just make things worse."

"No word on financials for the Hulu deal, but I'd surprised if this generates much cash for EMI," reports MediaMemo. "Hulu's core partners -- News Corp.'s Fox, GE's NBC Universal and Disney's ABC -- have deals that let them keep 70 percent of any ad revenue their stuff generates on the site ... But other partners get closer to 50 percent."

No matter how inauspicious its musical debut, however, Hulu could quite easily use its vast recourses and industry connections to give top music hubs a run for their money. That means YouTube, which has amassed a huge archive of music videos from nearly every major label, and is presently working on a music video hub, dubbed Vevo, with Universal Music and Sony Music Entertainment. Perhaps more ominously, that also means MySpace, which is now pinning its hopes for the future on music-related content

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1 comment about "Hulu Singing A New Song".
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  1. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., November 18, 2009 at 3:39 p.m.

    A paid Hulu is a dead Hulu - doesn't matter if it can play "taps" or not.

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