Next New Networks and Verizon FiOS have announced the launch of a new online entertainment network, $99 Music Videos. Today's launch kicks off with an original video for La Strada, and upcoming guest talent includes Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard, Via Audio, Plushgun, The Depreciation Guild, Project Jenny, Project Jan, Lowry, Savoir Adore and Frances. New videos will premiere every Thursday on the network's website and distribution channels like YouTube and iTunes.
The concept behind $99 Music Videos is simple -- and quite routine for many small indie bands -- making a cool music video on a limited budget. In this case, for $99. Like those reality redesign shows, the budget may be limited, but the possibilities are endless. Not necessarily on the production level, but the idea of reaching the thousands of Verizon fiber-optic Internet sunscribers (we're assuming this means Verizon phone subscribers as well) is an almost unheard of opportunity for bands at this level. In addition to connecting great independent talent with new waves of potential fans, $99 Music Videos also appeals to a new generation of filmmakers by demonstrating innovative techniques to produce innovative music videos using limited resources.
On the heels of the recent "revelation" that Facebook not only owns all content on their site, but can use it however they please (including to license or sell to third parties), the idea of the nation's fastest broadband internet company joining forces with the leading online television company to showcase emerging bands, musical artists and filmmakers might be met with a bit of skepticism. Especially the part of the press release that reads:
In addition the campaign will include integrated branded sponsor elements within episodes detailing the making of each music video, as well as companion media placements and integrated sponsor graphics on the network website and distribution points such as the network's YouTube channel. Next New Networks and Verizon will also work together in creative ways to promote the series through channels like Verizon's Facebook fan page and communities on platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, MySpace and Flickr.
But we were informed by $99 Music Videos Executive Producer, Melissa Schneider, that aside from the Verizon sponsorship, the content is wholly and completely owned by the band and only licensed exclusively for a three month period.
"The bands have complete ownership of the video," Schneider told us via e-mail. "During the video's premiere period, which is 3 months, the band is not allowed to sell or license the video to a third party. They can post the video and promote it all over the place. After the 3 month period, the band/record label can do whatever they want with the video. Sell it, make a DVD to sell, send it to MTV, etc. It's theirs to do whatever. And we hope that they can get everything and anything for it. The filmmakers and Next New Networks own none of the copyright to the video. Jack Ferry, the show's creator, myself and Next New Networks worked hard to make sure that the video and its terms are all about the band and that they get to keep the work.
The Verizon sponsorship is there to allow for the networks infrastructure to work, like the website and video players. The nature of the show is that the band and filmmakers have to use everything they have to make the video. That includes equipment. So if you only have a flip camera that's what you use to make the video. We want the videos not to be about money, but about how creative you can get when money is not an option. Since you're only really limited by your own creativity!"
$99 Music Videos will feature different combinations of musicians and directors each week. Directors include Jack Ferry, Dan Meth, Ana Veselic, Kathleen Grace and Matthew Semel. The network will initially consist of two shows: a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video, and the finished pieces themselves. Viewers will rate the videos as well as have the chance to submit their own $99 music videos, making the network a destination for bands and filmmakers to connect with each other and the independent music and film communities.
The network was developed by pioneers in the music, television and online entertainment space including Fred Seibert, MTV's original Creative Director, Felicia Williams, former Entertainment Content Manager at YouTube and Next New Networks' Director of Creative Development, and the Series Creator and Executive Producer, Webby Award honored filmmaker Jack Ferry.