Entries now open for the 9th UK Music Video Awards

Bringing together the best of music and visual art, the UK Music Video Awards have begun accepting video entries from the UK and worldwide.

The 2016 UK Music Video Awards are underway with their metaphorical doors open for artists and filmmakers around the world to submit their visual counterparts to music, or music videos.

The awards aren’t inclusive and allow anyone from creative indies to major label, globally renowned artists to put themselves up for consideration. The awards ceremony aims to recognise the work and art behind the best music videos of the past 12 months in a way that no other awards ceremonies do.

The UK Music Video Awards editorial director, David Knight said: “With music videos playing such a huge role in how music reaches people now, the UKMVAs provides an important platform for recognising the incredible range of talent involved in making them.

“Music video has always been a playground for up and coming filmmakers, and a creative space for visual ideas. It can incorporate all kinds of filmmaking, and it can also have its very own film language. In music videos, as in music, anything goes. It just has to work. The UKMVAs is here to celebrate the work that does exactly that.”

The awards feature over 30 categories including: Direction, production, camera work, animation, post-production, Best Music Documentary, Best Live Music Coverage and many others. The UKMVA will stop accepting submissions on the 2nd of August.9th music video ceremony art

The ninth annual UK Music Video Awards will take place on the 20th of October at the Roundhouse in Camden, London.

YouTube Red have bought their first big series based on the Step Up film series

A spin-off series based on the hit dance film series Step Up will be YouTube’s first big budget show for their paid service.

YouTube Red, YouTube’s recently introduced paid subscription tier, has been rolling out various bits of original content exclusively on their new subscription service since February this year. The YouTube Red originals have so been varied but rooted in YouTube’s creator driven origins, starring popular YouTubers. Now YouTube are expanding out into their first high budget, non-YouTube based series.

YouTube purchased the original series to stream exclusively through Red and will be a series adaption of the Step Up movies, using the same name. The 10-episode series will be produced by Lionsgate, the production company behind the fourth and fifth movies in the Step Up franchise. The film series’ star Channing Tatum is onboard with the project as an executive producer.

The show will apparently follow a similar plot to the first Step Up film, set in a performing arts high school. Lionsgate chairman, Kevin Beggs said the show will be “a distinctive, noisy, platform-defining series” saying that “multiple networks wanted [it]”. It’s a high stake bet on whether it will appeal to the YouTube audience however, as each episode will cost several million dollars to make.

Step Up dance original series

It’s a giant investment for the video hosting site but they feel confident the show will be a success with YouTube’s global head of content Susanne Daniels saying it will “drive subscription”. Daniels said: “I’ve been a fan of the Step Up movies for years and always believed the films would translate into an awesome original series. We know that dance is a hugely successful global category on YouTube, so I’m excited to have a series rooted in such an enormously popular genre on our platform.”

YouTube Red is available in Australia and the US for $10 a month and offers ad-free videos, offline saved videos, and original series starring famous YouTubers like PewDiePie. Step Up will be YouTube’s first Hollywood tier content. You can sign up if you’re in the US or Australia here: www.youtube.com/red

Tubular raise $10m to fund video measurement across multiple platforms

Tubular, leaders in video analytics, have secured another $10 million in funding bringing their total to $31 million in the 3 years they’ve been operating.

Tubular Labs measure online video performance across multiple platforms to reveal which platforms have the most users, what businesses and channels are dominating the industry and more. With their new boost in funding Tubular plan to improve their analytics across social media, like Facebook who have been introducing video content for the past year.

Founder and CEO of Tubular, Rob Gabel said: “Our goal since the beginning has been to help brands and publishers grow their online audiences. Today with more than 55,000 publishers generating over 99 billion monthly video views, online video has reached critical scale. What’s missing is monetisation of branded content. We’re thrilled to partner with Marker and will use this new funding to expand our offerings, enabling publishers to effectively prospect, pitch and report on branded content.”

Tubular online video measurement

Marker LLC led this round of Tubular’s funding as well as their Series B funding 2 years ago. Marker co-founder and partner, Rick Scanlon said: “Tubular is a pioneer and the clear market leader in a rapidly growing, increasingly diverse and critical online video industry. Over the last three years, the company developed a solution that tracks more than 2 billion videos across 30 social platforms, its customers base has grown by more than 10 times and it is now considered the standard in cross-platform video intelligence.”

That customer base included 4,000 online creators and 100 businesses. Among those businesses are BuzzFeed, who Tubular reported were far in the lead for video views in April with 4.7 billion views. As comparison, in second place was Time Warner with 2.2 billion views in April.

At the end of April Tubular launched Video Ratings so that brands and creators could track their video content and ratings across the web. At the time, Gabel said: “We know that the online video industry today captures just 12% of the potential $6.3b cross-platform branded content opportunity. Tubular Video Ratings will help unlock the other 88% by enabling our customers to more effectively measure their online video success.”

Adele stops concert to tell fan “Stop Filming Me”

At a recent concert British popstar Adele interrupted her performance to ask a fan to stop filming her. She followed the dramatic outburst by saying: “I’m really here, in real life. You can enjoy it in real life rather than through your camera.”

We can agree that it’s incredibly annoying when you’re enjoying a gig and the person in front of you has their smartphone light glaring as they watch the fuzzy pixels present them what’s actually happening in front of them. But at the same time it’s not really something that should concern the performer, especially one as high-profile as Adele whose tickets are so rare that they can go up to £24,000. If I paid £24,000 to see Adele sing for a couple hours I’d probably want to record a memory or two as well.

What do you think? Is it justified of Adele to tell her fan to stop recording and watch her on the stage, or is this another case of an arrogant artist feeling a little too self-important in a public arena?

YouTube Red Now In Australia For Ad-Free & Offline Videos

Australia are now the second country to have access to YouTube’s first ever subscription service, following it’s US debut last October.

YouTube Red is the first ever paid subscription offering from YouTube and lets users watch videos ad-free, save them for offline viewing and other extras. YouTube launched Red last October for the US and now Australia are the second territory to have access to Red.

The service, which comes bundled with Google Play Music, have been slowly developing original content to add more value to the service. Until now, as Red exclusives, only the US have been able to watch these exclusive videos but now Australians can too.

YouTube have been quiet on any global expansion of YouTube Red but hopefully Australia can work as a gateway to opening up more countries. In January we covered YouTube’s deals with licensing companies suggested a UK release was approaching, but we’re yet to hear further on any UK launch of YouTube Red

A subscription to YouTube Red will cost AU$9.99 (US$7.22) until June 6th, after which it will cost AU$11.99 a month.

Rhapsody Launch App For Virtual Reality Concerts

Music streaming service Rhapsody have launched a virtual reality app that lets you watch live concerts in 360-degrees.

Rhapsody have become trailblazers with the launch of the first solely music based VR app. On launch VR concerts will include performances by classic rapper Talib Kweli and modern rap group Flatbush Zombies. There are also performances from lesser known artists.

The app won’t require a Rhapsody subscription to use meaning that anyone can download the app and experience live acts in virtual reality for free. Rhapsody say that they will be updating the app with new content every month.

Rhapsody worked with Visual, a virtual reality company based in Minneapolis, to create their VR experiences. Visual founder Chuck Olsen said: “360° video is emerging as an exciting way to experience music and entertainment, and it’s been awesome to work with the future-thinking musicheads at Rhapsody.”

VR is becoming increasingly common as YouTube has supported 360° videos since last March and have now announced their upcoming dedicated VR app – Daydream, launching at the end of this year.

The VR concert experience works best with Google Cardboard but will work without it. You can download Rhapsody VR today from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.

YouTube’s Full Virtual Reality App Revealed – Coming Fall 2016

YouTube and parent company Google have announced a new dedicated virtual reality app that will let you use some of your favourite apps in VR.

Since introducing support for 360-degree videos on YouTube last March Google have been enhancing the feature with 360 live streaming, 3D audio, and various other improvements. Now the past year of experimenting with VR videos has culminated into ‘Daydream’, an upcoming app from Google that provides a dedicated VR experience.

Announced at Google I/O yesterday Daydream is set to launch towards the end of this year. The app won’t just be a home to the “world’s largest collection of VR videos” (YouTube’s claim) but will allow you to use certain apps in virtual reality. Watch the Baseball in 1st person with the MLB app, travel the world in Google Street View, and plenty more.

In a blog post YouTube virtual reality’s senior product manager, Kurt Wilms said: “We’ve been working with some amazing creators to experiment with new formats that offer a wide range of virtual experiences. We’re already collaborating with the NBA, BuzzFeed and Tastemade to explore new ways of storytelling in virtual environments that will provide valuable lessons about the way creators and viewers interact with VR video.”

virtual reality Google YouTube

Daydream will retain a lot of the main YouTube app’s features like voice search, discovery options and playlists. YouTube say the app will feature “everything from classic 16×9 videos to 260-degree footage to cutting-edge VR experiences in full 3D”. YouTube’s VR experience spreads to Coachella performances, artist interviews, and even videos that aren’t 360-degrees can be experienced with Google Cardboard. Whether support will be added for Google’s VR experiences outside of YouTube isn’t currently clear, like their ‘Inside Abbey Road Studios‘ app.

YouTube are also working with camera developers to enhance upon VR and 360 camera tech like the GoPro Odyssey. They’re also launching a ‘Jump program’ at their YouTube Spaces around the world to allow more creators to use VR tech, starting in New York and Los Angeles with all the other YouTube Space’s to get it soon.

There’s no specific launch date for Daydream beyond “Fall 2016”. Kurt Wilms closed the blog post saying: “We’re just beginning to understand what a truly immersive VR experience can bring to fans of YouTube, but we’re looking forward to making that future a (virtual) reality.”

Vevo Launching ‘Long Form Programming’ With Upcoming Subscription Service

Vevo’s future subscription service has been kept under wraps since it was announced in February but a new job advert might reveal some of what to expect.

A job advert for a Head of Creative Commissioning and Acquisitions was recently posted by Vevo. The advert requests someone to lead “diversifying Vevo’s content offer beyond the official music video into long form programming”. As this comes just months after Vevo announced they would soon be releasing their first ever paid service this suggests new content moving beyond music videos, the company’s primary focus.

The ad requests the ideal candidate as having “an in-depth knowledge of music video, docu-series and film” suggesting a diversity of new content. Music documentary series are a popular choice for music services exploring video content as Spotify recently announced they’re developing 12 original shows, with a docu-series announced as one of the first.

Under the job’s responsibilities is to “build content pipeline around specific genres and verticals, including non-traditional sources such as ‘Internet’ based talent”. Now ‘Internet based talent’ could mean anything from a YouTube vlogger to an underground artist releasing mixtapes but it suggests a move towards independent creators, and we can assume being Vevo that it will involve music somehow.

Vevo revealed they were launching a paid service shortly after purchasing subscription based video service Showyou. Details have been scarce beyond chief executive Erik Huggers claim it would be “something in the same vein as Amy“. Unfortunately the job advert doesn’t reveal anything massive, the rest of the ad is even more vague but you can check it out for yourself. You can be sure to find any more news on Vevo’s upcoming service here on the RouteNote Blog.

What do you think Vevo has planned to launch on a new subscription service? Let us know in the comments below.

Amazon’s New ‘Video Direct’ Rivals YouTube As A User-Generated Video Platform

Amazon have launched a new ad-supported video service for creators to reach Amazon users, increasing competition between YouTube and parent company Google.

Amazon Video Direct is the new platform from tech giants Amazon and allows video uploads from anyone, who can then earn money from ads and Prime subscribers. As of yesterday users with an Amazon account can upload original or licensed videos of their own to the Video Direct. Once you’ve uploaded your video you can choose whether to make it available for free, through paywalls like Prime or other subscriptions, or make it available to rent and buy.

President of Samuel Goldwyn Films, Peter Goldwyn said: “We have the control to create unique distribution strategies that reflect the changing ways in which our audiences discover our films.” Whilst Andrea Carpenter from Mattel, Inc. said: “The upload and publishing process is easy and fast, and we can directly monitor our performance through our online dashboard.”

Amazon Video Prime YouTube

The optional royalty route is an interesting one and opens up more freedom for creators to dictate how their videos are presented to users. When uploaded to Video Direct videos will be made available in the US, UK, Germany, Austria, and Japan where Amazon Video is available. Videos will be streamable on any compatible device – Fire TV, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, Smart TVs and of course on computers.

Amazon are making their service transparent for creators so that uploaders can see minutes streamed, subscriber numbers, revenue projections, and a history of payments giving creators a chance to optimise their videos to suit their audience and work out the method of revenue generating that works best for them.

Amazon are also offering a giant prize draw every month as an incentive for uploaders. Every month Amazon will share out $1,000,000 between the Top 100 titles included with Prime through Amazon Video Direct. The bonus is based on customer engagement around the world will be open to any video titles included within Prime and comes as an addition to revenues earned traditionally.

Find out more from Amazon’s Video Direct page here.

Spotify Producing 12 New Original Shows In Phase 1 Of Video Production Plans

Spotify have 12 new shows on the way covering pinnacle moments in music, the clashing of producers and a mockumentary starring Tim Robbins.

Earlier this year in January Spotify launched a new section on their iOS and Android apps called ‘Shows’. Spotify Shows hosts a load of networks including Comedy Central, MTV, Adult Swim, BBC, Vice, Ted Talks, NBC and more. Each network features a bunch of shows which range from full series like Robot Chicken, to snippets from TV programmes and feature length documentaries.

Now Spotify are working on 12 new and original shows that focus on music and pop culture. These new shows will range from a few minutes long to 15 minutes and feature help from actor Tim Robbins and the co-founder of Def Jam Records Russell Simmons.

Russell Simmons (right) helped build Def Jam Records after it was founded by legendary producer Rick Rubin (left)
Russell Simmons (right) helped build Def Jam Records after it was founded by legendary producer Rick Rubin (left)

A couple of the shows have been revealed: ‘Landmark’ is a docu-series that covers various significant or “landmark” moments in music history. So far there are two episodes shot about Metallica, and one about Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album.

The other show announced is “Rush Hour”, produced by Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital company. Rush Hour brings together two Hip-Hop acts who have to come together and create performance in limited time to audiences. Bloomberg reported that in the pilot of the show cameras were mainly on the audience, suggesting a focus on response rather than performance.

Meanwhile Academy Award winning actor Tim Robbins will take part in a series which follows his attempts to become the next big thing in dance music… Unfortunately it’s a mockumentary, or fortunately.

The shows are being led by Spotify’s new content partnerships chief. Tom Calderone, who joined in March, said: “Music will always be the most important, but our audience likes us and wants more from us. We have to figure out a second act, and I think it will come out of video. The idea is to make sure users know they can come here for something other than playlists.”

Tom Calderone's years of experience in translating music to video will be instrumental in Spotify's Shows platform
Tom Calderone’s years of experience in translating music to video will be instrumental in Spotify’s Shows platform

Before joining Spotify Calderone worked for 17 years at Viacom Inc. where he made TV stars out of pop singers Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. He also played a part in turning rappers Flavor Flav and Snoop Dogg into reality television stars. Now he’s trying to bring that experience of melding music and video to Spotify by leading their new original shows.

Apparently Calderone’s plans for Spotify Shows includes two stages. The coming together of music and programmes is part of phase 1. Calderone is also talking to artists in how they can use video with new album releases to complement their new shows. Then in phase 2 they will take the music element away to cement shows as it’s own entity with a series of comedy and animated shows. Calderone plans to visit Los Angeles and London in the next month to discuss partners for shows.

Calderone already has the help of ex-boss Van Toffler, who left his management of MTV, VH1, and CMT to form his own production company: Gunpowder & Sky. The company will produce an animated series called “Drawn & Recorded” focusing on notable artists and places in history.  The show will be narrated by Grammy winner T-Bone Burnett.

Ex-media magnate Van Toffler will produce an animated series for Spotify with his new production company
Ex-media magnate Van Toffler will produce an animated series for Spotify with his new production company

Toffler appears to be highly enthusiastic of Spotify’s direction in video production, saying that streamers like Spotify “need to be more than a library of music. What we did at MTV was create genre shows, unique performance shows and narratives behind the music – literally ‘Behind the Music’. This is a blueprint.”

At the moment there’s no release date for Spotify’s upcoming shows but be sure to find out about it here on the RouteNote blog when any news is revealed.