Apple have posted another impressive iTunes Music Store stat: 1 million video downloads in less than 20 days. Iím not going to spend much time talking about what this means for online video as a whole nor for the iPod (Iíll leave that to my colleagues) but instead what the iPod and other portable media players mean for the music video.
Thereís been a lot of talk about just how compelling the video playback experience on the iPod and also other portable video players actually is. And the contrast between portable video and TV viewing only deepens with adoption of living room technologies such as High Definition TV, surround sound and LCD screens. Yet that debate really isnít that important for music video. Music video is (more often than not) music first and video second. Of course there are exceptions and there are endless examples of ground breaking videos for average songs. But the dominant trend is that people watch music videos because they want to hear the music. Having a music video on your portable media player or mobile phone is well suited to providing a strong music experience first and the added benefit of being able to glance at your screen to watch the artist. Often it will be killing a few minutes on or waiting for a bus or train Ė itís this boredom factor which mobile operators such as 3 are pinning their hopes on.
High picture quality just isnít as important for music video as it is for watching a block buster Hollywood special effects drenched epic movie. And of course music videos are short, which means that you can get a lot more of them on your device than TV episodes, let alone feature length movies.
The added benefit for the music industry is that added interactivity of a music video versus a simple audio track is that it is well suited to enticing younger consumers who tend to expect engagement from their content (e.g. console games, the Internet). It is also a great differentiator for download stores from file sharing networks, again particularly relevant for the digital youth who are growing up with little conception of music as a paid commodity. This is an issue Iíve covered in some detail in an upcoming report which will be published on our web site in the next few days: www.jupiterresearch.com