Back in 1981, Fred Seibert helped create MTV. Now he'd like to re-create it on the web with a new network devoted to music videos made in a day for $99 or less.
That's the theme of the latest "network," called $99 Music Video, from web-production studio Next New Networks. "I was there at the start of MTV and this has the same feeling all over again," said Mr. Seibert, a co-founder of NNN.
The idea is to give signed and unsigned bands the opportunity to create a video and have it distributed and promoted by Next New Networks and a new website, 99dollarmusicvideos.com. This, of course, isn't too unlike what thousands of bands are already doing, but Next New Networks is giving the DIY videos a marketing push to separate them from the clutter of YouTube and MySpace.
Verizon FiOS is sponsoring the series, with the message "$99 music videos are best experienced with Verizon FiOS internet."
Next New Networks gets a three-month exclusive window to distribute the video and then it shares distribution rights with the band and/or the band's label, which ultimately owns the video.
Next New Networks will produce one of these a week, in collaboration with a different band, as well as a "making of" video with behind-the-scenes footage and Verizon brand integration. As head of programming Tim Shey points out, a lot has changed between 1981 and today, in particular a band's ability to produce really good-looking video on a shoestring.
For Next New Networks, producer of series such as "Barely Political" and "Channel Frederator," it's another source of cheap, brand-friendly programming. The company has raised $23 million from the likes of Spark Capital, Saban Media Group, Pilot Group, Velocity Partners and Goldman Sachs, and needs to build its footprint and ad revenue.
How did the bands do for $99? Here's "The Sun Song" from La Strada, filmed in subzero temperatures on a ferry to Ellis Island and in what appears to be a Brooklyn backyard.
And the "Making of La Strada":