Major labels have been roundly criticized over the years for fighting technological advances and digital distribution realities.
But stodgy outlooks are increasingly giving way to more progressive approaches, especially as physical sales outlets decline precipitously.
Universal Music Group, easily the largest of the roost, surprised onlookers this month by triggering a major experiment in MP3-based sales. But the company has also been allocating considerable energies towards its YouTube partnership, despite cloudy revenue models. Just recently, the major hoisted a number one position among YouTube channels, which are dedicated collections of content from specific providers.
The first-place ranking was prompted by 167 million total views, a record result that outdistances competitors like CBS and NBC. From a broader perspective, that is mostly a drop in the bucket – according to figures released last year by Hitwise, YouTube serves more than 100 million videos daily, a number that has probably increased markedly.
That puts the Universal record in perspective, though perhaps the more important issue involves an accompanying revenue stream, something YouTube owner Google hoping to attract through overlay advertisements. Currently, Warner Music Group is part of an initial test run, though Universal may join shortly.