“Audio streaming platforms are somewhat passive. I put my phone in my pocket and that’s it,” says Bryce Clemmer, CEO of music video startup Vadio.
His company is betting that Spotify won’t be the only streaming service to jump into moving pictures. The music-streaming industry is struggling while video companies are celebrating. Vadio just today announced a $7.5 million Series A funding round to deliver music videos to platforms like Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and any other digital music platform. Streaming services plug into Vadio’s technology to access its partner Vevo’s massive database of music videos and incorporate them into channels and playlists on their web or mobile apps.
“Moving pictures are a far, far better way to communicate,” says Vadio’s new COO Yair Landau, former president of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment. “Right now, people consume music where they’d frankly prefer to consume video.”
Seeing Where You’re Listening
Viewership of music videos online has grown dramatically in the US in the past few years, according to Vadio, but YouTube is still the primary place for us to get our fix. Vadio hopes to change that by letting users access music videos—on-demand or via radio stream—right in their music platform of choice.
For streaming services, Clemmer argues, turning listeners into video viewers could be the long-sought after path to profits.“Monetization for streaming in general is an issue,” he says. “An obvious solution to that problem is video.”
Spotify, for example, is looking for new ways to bring in bucks without increasing its costs too dramatically. “It is a no-brainier to want to sell more to existing customers,” says streaming music analyst Andrew Sheehy of Generator Research. “This will increase the average revenue per subscriber.” Plus, if certain options are only available for premium subscribers, it may incentivize more people to pay.
But digital radio listeners today are likely more accustomed to pocketing their smartphone after pressing play. When’s the last time you streamed Pandora and sat there staring at your screen?
Vadio’s team says it’s found that incorporating video into streaming platforms gives users more of a reason to look down at their phones, or up at the TV. Having videos there changes the user behavior, keeping them engaged in the app for longer, Clemmer claims.
And even if users don’t always want to watch videos all the time, when they do, they should have the option. “There are a lot of music services on your Apple TV, for example, that don’t have video and it makes no sense,” adds Landau. “If you’re cooking and listening to music through your TV, you probably want to watch it, too.”
There’s no reason for phones, laptops, TVs, and tablets to be limited to audio—they’re connected and they have screens. “In the future, video will become the dominant form for content,” Clemmer says. “Any platform that can incorporate video will.”