Peter Kafka

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Hulu Tries a Little More Music, This Time From Warner Music

Once upon a time, Hulu flirted with the notion of becoming a hub for music videos. That never happened, and now the big music labels are trying to create their own Hulu, via their Vevo site.

But Hulu is still playing around with music videos, at least at the margins. Last month, it began hosting some clips from EMI, which was promoting a new Norah Jones album. Now the site, owned by GE’s (GE) NBC, Disney’s (DIS) ABC, and News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox is adding a few more, via Warner Music Group (WMG).

Emphasis on “few”: For now, the only Warner artist you can find on the site is Muse, which is a band, I learned this weekend. The label’s release says you’ll be able to see clips from Jason Mraz and Paramore in the next few weeks, with more coming next year. (Props to CNET’s Greg Sandoval for sniffing this out earlier today).

Meanwhile, if you want to see clips from every other Warner artist, from Green Day to Madonna, you should look to Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, where Warner has carved out a deal to launch a mini-Vevo of its own.

Warner isn’t discussing terms, but given the limited number of artists the company is trying out here, it’s easy enough to get the impression that the label views this primarily as a promotional deal, not one with a big financial upside. Another indicator: My understanding is that under the terms of the agreement, Hulu will take the lead on selling ads against the clips, as opposed to the YouTube deal, where Warner is handling sales itself.

Here’s one of Hulu’s new Muse clips. Not my thing, at least based on what I saw of the band’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend. But whatever floats your boat. Press release below:


New Partnership Debuts with Rich Content Offering
From British Rock Sensation Muse

New Artist Pages Featuring Jason Mraz and Paramore to Launch in Early 2010

New York, December 22, 2009 — Warner Music Group (WMG), one of the world’s leading music companies, today announced an agreement with Hulu, an online video service that offers hit TV shows, movies and clips at and other online destination sites–anytime in the U.S. The agreement brings an artist-focused online video experience that features music videos, artist interviews, live concerts and rare behind the scenes footage from WMG’s world-renowned artists and labels including Atlantic Records, Rhino Records and Warner Bros. Records.

Warner Bros. recording artists Muse are the first artists featured under the agreement.  Recently, Hulu launched an all Muse artist page ( that features the band’s appearance on Saturday Night Live’s December 19th holiday episode as well as content from Muse’s sold out tour dates at Wembley Stadium, exclusive interviews and rare deep-catalog videos.

Hulu will also launch artist pages for Atlantic’s multiple Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Jason Mraz and for Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic’s multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated rock band Paramore in the coming weeks.  More artist channels will be announced in early 2010.

In making the announcement, Michael Nash, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy and Business Development, WMG, said, “We’re pleased to be working with Hulu as we expand our premium ad-supported video strategy to provide our artists with a customized and flexible approach to marketing and monetizing their music, by leveraging the most powerful partnerships and platforms in the industry. Hulu has been a leader and innovator in this space, and we look forward to working with them on creating compelling, content-rich artist channels that will provide a dynamic experience to their fans, while introducing our artists to new audiences online.”

Muse will launch their US tour in February 2010 in support of their fifth studio album, The Resistance, which earned them their highest-ever debut on the Billboard album chart when it debuted at No. 3. The Resistance debuted at No. 1 in 20 countries around the world. Their current single, “Uprising,” has topped Mediabase’s Alternative Radio chart for the past 16 weeks, breaking the record for the longest No. 1 track at Modern Rock for 2009.

Jason Mraz most recently released an all new live CD/DVD titled Jason Mraz’s Beautiful Mess–Live On Earth recorded at the Chicago stop on his Gratitude Café Tour. This comes on the heels of his third studio album, the platinum-certified We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things., which has received multiple Grammy nominations, including most recently Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Make it Mine” and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Lucky.” Additionally Jason’s song, “I’m Yours,” set the record this year as the longest-running song on Billboard’s “Hot 100” in the 51-year history of the chart.

Paramore’s new album Brand New Eyes, is the follow up to their 1.8 million selling RIOT!. The album, which was produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Kid Rock) and co-produced by Paramore, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and features the hit single “Ignorance.”  Paramore also contributed two songs to the soundtrack for the box office smash “Twilight,” including the Grammy-nominated focus track “Decode.” The band’s THE FINAL RIOT! DVD has been certified gold by the RIAA, making it the first Atlantic Records video/DVD release to be certified gold in more than 10 years. The band just wrapped up a sold out UK tour including a stop at London’s Wembley Arena.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik