Muzu TV launches artist-controlled video site

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Dublin-based Muzu TV was one of the companies that demo’d at our recent TechCrunch Meetup in Dublin and, to be honest, I hadn’t expected such a a full-blown, well funded startup to emerge until I bumped into the smiling face of co-founder Mark French. Heading down to their office the next day, I realised that Muzu TV is attempting to pull off quite a big play.

I understand Muzu has raised $8 million dollars from Oyster Technology Investments, a venture fund formed by Bill McCabe, one of Ireland’s most successful technology entrepreneurs. Co-founded by Mark French and Ciaran Bollard, they have offices in Dublin, London and New York.

It has also been building a library of music related video content (documentaries, TV shows, interviews, tutorials, music videos, and classic music TV shows like The Tube). To that end they have signed a deal with major label Sony BMG which has a global artist roster including The Ting Tings, Foo Fighters, Kylie, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and MGMT. They also have deals with over 200 international labels and content producers including Ministry of Sound, Defected Records, Cherry Red Records, Eagle Rock, SPV, Planet Rock Profiles, Hollywood Music Inc. and Ninja Tune. There are also deals in place with collection societies.

This is an ad-supported streaming music video site which enables artists, labels, festivals, venues, fans and any other music content owner to broadcast their music TV on the web, “legally” and at no cost. The legal aspect is key – the player is designed to protect copyright holders buy giving the artist control. So for instance, a fan can upload gig videos and cover versions, but because this is technically copyright to the band, they can both make money from the ad-revenue. If they don’t like the video, they can delete it. The band might even make revenue from someone’s cover version.

The ad-funded model is based around sharing display advertising revenue. Content partners can generate revenue from in-video advertising, and Muzu will pay you whether you are a major label or an unsigned band on a 50/50 rev share. They even have a studio in Dublin where bands can shoot videos.

Content partners and fans can create a branded channel of multiple video playlists, along with a personalised profile, messaging and fans or friends section. Anyone can embed their Muzu TV player (with all their video playlists) on their own sites and social networking pages, but there’s a catch. You have to register first. This feels like a barrier to distribution to me and I wonder how long that strategy will last. Baeble Music is a content partner which is using Muzu’s video player.

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