Muzu TV strikes major music deal with EMI

14 Jan 2009

Record industry giant EMI has become the latest label to join fast-growing music video social networking site Muzu.

EMI is the latest Big-Four label along with Sony BMG to choose the Muzu TV platform.

Dublin-based Muzu – which was named New Software Company of the Year at the recent Irish Software Association Awards – is the brainchild of record industry veterans Ciaran Bollard and Mark French, and so far, a wide cross-section of the industry, including artists, venues, festivals and music magazines, have signed up, as well as music label Sony BMG. Other members of the Big-Four fraternity of labels are predicted to soon be joining the Muzu fold.

Existing members of Muzu include over 200 labels and content producers such as Ministry of Sound, Defected Records, Cherry Red Records, Eagle Rock, Planet Rock Profiles, SPV, Hollywood Music and Ninja Tune, to name a few.

The deal with EMI Music will cover the Ireland and UK territories and will give Muzu users access to more than 5,000 videos from EMI’s catalogue.

Muzu TV allows fans to create, watch and share music-video playlists. Users can create video playlists from thousand of videos and embed them on their social networking sites. Muzu TV provides free access to thousands of hours of diverse music-video content, including concerts, backstage footage, documentaries, tutorials, music videos, interviews and classic music TV shows such as The Tube.

“It is an exciting time for us at Muzu TV, opening the site globally, and adding some of the world’s biggest artists to the music-video catalogue through the agreement with EMI Music,” Bollard explained.

“These key milestones further demonstrate that Muzu TV is well on its way to becoming the de facto source for fans accessing music videos, while generating money for labels and bands when their video is accessed on or off the Muzu TV service. This deal also includes: behind the scenes; tour diaries; and live and interview footage, bringing fans closer to their favourite artists.”

Ian Whitfield, vice-president digital business development at EMI Music, said EMI Music’s mission is to bring artists and fans together and create value wherever music is experienced.

“Muzu TV have shown that they are creating a destination that is appealing to fans and will drive a new revenue stream in the UK and Ireland for our artists and their great video content.”

Muzu TV enables labels and bands to broadcast their music video on the web and get paid wherever it goes. It pays content owners half of all the ad revenue generated from display ads on their Muzu TV channels and ‘in-video’ adverts within their Muzu TV players, both on Muzu TV and when players are embedded on external sites like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo or other external sites.

Any band or label can create their own branded music TV channel on Muzu TV, featuring multiple video playlists, along with a personalised profile, messaging and fans or friends section.

Content owners always retain the rights over their video content and get paid royalties as normal through Muzu TV’s agreement with the collection societies. They also retain full control over their video, as they decide what goes live and can add or remove any of their videos whenever they feel like it.

For music fans, Muzu TV is primarily about watching, creating and sharing unlimited music-video playlists. Fans can access over 10,000 artist channels, including major label acts like The Script, The Ting Tings, MGMT, and Beyonce, and up-and-coming indie bands such as Fight Like Apes, Bo Pepper and This Devil is Yours, not to mention all of EMI Music’s content.

Fans can also create their own Music TV Channels featuring any video on Muzu TV, and embed them in their social networking pages — further increasing the revenue potential for bands. In addition, fans can feature on their favourite artist channels by uploading a video they have created on that artist.

They can also interact with other fans, discover and share music, all legally and at no cost.

Before Christmas, Muzu struck an ad deal with Xbox 360 to promote the new Lips music game, which will involve providing content within the Xbox 360 site and on Bebo.

According to Bollard, Muzu, which has raised €6m in venture capital from Oyster Capital, Enterprise Ireland and a number of private investors, is currently in the middle of another major funding round and is planning to open the model up in new territories in the coming year.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years