British labels body the BPI has teamed up with online video specialist LoveLive for a new YouTube channel called Transmitter, which is aiming to use MCN-style original programming to promote British artists to the world.
The channel launches on 11 November, and will include weekly shows with a focus on live performances, interviews and online interaction with fans. The BPI says it’s an attempt to reach the 77% of 16-24 year-olds in the UK who listen to music on YouTube, according to YouGov research earlier this year.
The BPI has found a good partner: LoveLive has worked on projects with a range of artists and labels, and was also the executive producer of the popular Black Cab Sessions original music series, which debuted on Channel 4, was distributed internationally by BBC Worldwide, and which became a hit on YouTube courtesy of its production company Just So.
“There’s no weekly TV show any more in primetime that introduces consumers to what’s going on in music, and on YouTube, there’s nothing for mainstream chart music that does that” says BPI boss Geoff Taylor. “The audience has moved from television to mobile, so we want to both help labels promote their artists and help fans find really high-quality content.”
You could argue that 16-24 year-olds are more likely to be watching music videos from YouTubers rather than label-signed artists, or tuning in to channels from young music brands like UKF or SB.TV. Not to mention Radio 1’s plans to launch its own video channel through the BBC’s iPlayer service.
But there’s already an example of an industry body finding huge success on YouTube in Turkey’s MÜ-YAP, whose channel generated 179m views in September – the third biggest YouTube channel behind only Miley Cyrus and PewDiePie that month.
Taylor is keen to swerve suggestions that Transmitter is an industry thing, however: the emphasis will be on the British angle and the consumer brand, rather than on the BPI. “We’re not doing this because we’re a trade body or because we think it needs to be done by a trade body. We’re doing it because all labels think it’s something that can add to what’s out there,” he says.
One challenge will be negotiating the industry politics of which labels’ artists are featured on Transmitter to keep everybody happy, while the monetisation strategy will also be interesting. Click-to-buy links are likely to play as prominent a role as advertising, by the sounds of it, but roll on 11 November when we’ll find out how it works. Here’s the teaser trailer in the meantime: