Picture this: When you click “play” on a YouTube video, it starts immediately. No more waiting five to 15 seconds trying to ignore some random commercial that plays instead of your anticipated video. No more keyboard mashing trying to tap the “Skip to video” button as soon as it appears on the YouTube screen. Instead, the video you are watching has the advertisements posted up on walls or billboards in the background as if they belonged there in the first place.
It’s called “retroactive product placement.” What is it, exactly? It’s taking already existing music videos and retroactively embedding subtle advertisements within them to remove the needs for advertisements before the video starts. Ted Mico, COO of Mirriad, the company behind the new technology, said that the advertisements are a means to eliminate the need for pre-video advertising.
With the rising popularity of streaming websites like Spotify, fewer fans are actually buying albums. This technology has so much potential to make revenue because, Mico says, “...Instead of running pre-roll, now you’d buy spots inside the video.” Some may argue that this form of advertisement is a form of “selling out,” but in an industry that is becoming increasingly difficult to make money for artists, this is viewed by some as lesser of all the evils. Universal is the first label to utilize this new technology.
Avicii's manager, Ash Pournouri, is excited by the idea, and his superstar client is one of the first artists to take part in retroactive product placement. He told Rolling Stone, "Technology like this could in fact allow for bigger [video] budgets so that creativity doesn't have to take a dive for financial restraints. We have a small but principal stake in [Mirriad], which feels important to us."
However, there are many people who are unhappy with retroactive product placement. David T. Viecelli, CEO of booking company Billions, said: "It’s becoming much more challenging to develop sustainable revenue for an artist. But selling out is selling out. Avicii’s manager says that, but how far is it between that and saying, ’It’s unfortunate that Avicii has to blow guys in the bus station for chump change, but it’s the only way that we can get the light show we want on the next tour.’ That’s a very dangerous, slippery slope.”
Rolling Stone published a before-and-after photo of Avicii's "Lay Me Down" music video. The top photo is before the retroactive product placement and the bottom photo is after an advertisement was added.
What do you think about retroactive product placement? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Jimmy Schleisman
[H/T: Rolling Stone]