Digital pennies may not work for big television companies -- but they may be just the ticket for smaller, independent musicians.
YouTube has expanded "Musicians Wanted," its partner program for musicians where artists receive a piece of revenues from advertising.
YouTube says the share won't only be quantified by traffic. Instead, the company will consider the number of subscribers, the musician's involvement, and his track record. Video rentals may also be part of the deal.
Of course, this is YouTube. Much success might hinge on video rather than musical interest -- but that's another artistic issue left for others to discuss. For small-time musicians, there will be the added expense/time of producing videos.
For musicians who have no qualms in being all-encompassing marketer/entertainers, this should be a no-brainer. YouTube is the dominant player in digital video. It has what all business people want: the potential for immense scale.
Big scale would seem a perfect match for big media as well. But it isn't; there are those digital pennies to consider, as well as older issues of copyright that keep rearing its head. (Viacom, for one, is in the middle of a big lawsuit against YouTube.)
It's not just YouTube. Viacom, CBS and others have pooh-poohed Web sites like Hulu because the economic model isn't vibrant enough for their big and expensive TV shows, programs that draw big advertising dollars on traditional platforms.
YouTube, of course, has many initiatives. But the music thing is more in YouTube territory -- catering to small, enterprising video producers who like to entertain and inform.
Given its current struggles to build other channels for bigger companies, YouTube should continue to look at what got it to be so big in the first place.
The lesson to be learned here for future business might be: how to remain true to your loyal video customer and producer.