Monday, March 9, 2009

For Those About to Rock…Saluting

I recently checked in with Barnaby Marshall to talk about an exciting venture he’s been working on called Barnaby is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the freshly launched search vertical that caters to true music fans. The idea of building a vertical search site is part of a growing trend in the online industry. Frustrated searchers are growing tired of the ambiguity and hit or miss content found on networks like YouTube and are turning to boutique engines that provide what I like to call a “mecca factor”.

Barnaby has been an avid music fan for as long as he can remember. For years he scoured indie music shops and record conventions for rare videos, but everything changed when YouTube came along four years ago. Suddenly this somewhat obscure passion became a huge mainstream social pastime, as massive amounts of uncirculated material began flooding the internet. The chaos and disorganization of the early stages of Web 2.0, motivated Barnaby to tame the performance video portion of YouTube by building RockPeaks.

Snapping up the title of “world’s largest database of live rock and roll video”, has taken full advantage of the explosion of performance video material circulating the web. In organizing the content and tagging it in such a way that users can quickly access specific content, the site truly fulfills a deepening consumer demand for higher levels of sophistication in search.

The site has launched with 5,000 clips ready to be reviewed, commented on and shared by rock fans across the globe. Almost 3,000 of those clips have live, active streams. Eventually the site will evolve into a community that will provide rich information on the content that has until now, been floating around with little to no context.

Much like Google’s mission statement (to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful),’s raison d’être is to tame the unruly world of video sharing. Keeping it simple, does not allow members to upload their own videos. This is one factor allowing the business to run lean.

Among the site’s features is a clip tracker that finds content that has been pulled from other sharing sites and provides its users with a petition mechanism to lobby for the authorized release of overlooked material.

Barnaby explained that part of the frustration with YouTube is that things get pulled all the time. Often they will pop up again later, but without all the original comments, number of views, rankings etc. This is incredibly valuable data. From an quantitative perspective, we can divide the number of days a clip has been posted by the number of views it has received to get a sense of what's hot on YouTube and from a qualitative standpoint, the user generated content includes true music fans’ commentary and in some cases, valuable data on the who/what/where of a clip, as well as opinions/critiique)

Barnaby describes the founders’ motivation behind as “…preserving history and celebrating those fleeting but wonderful moments where musical magic is made and sharing them with others, perpetually”.

The RockPeaks business model has three components:

  • They’ve secured a deal with one of Canada’s largest advertising networks to represent the site and they will be using Google AdWords in the short term as the fit for niche contextual messaging certainly exists on the site.
Affiliate Program
  • A standard agreement with Amazon allows the site to generate commissions from their sales. Interestingly, the value of a digital download is 6 points higher than a hard CD purchase.
Content Licensing
  • Content Licensing is a long-term potential revenue stream that will certainly be explored.
Looking forward to watching RockPeaks paint it black...

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