Daniel Graf is CEO of Kyte, the US-based digital media platform developer, which has formed a global partnership with the world’s biggest major label Universal Music Group (UMG). The agreement enables UMG acts worldwide to use the platform to record, upload, broadcast live and host their own video channels on multiple destinations, online and on mobile. Graf, who took part in yesterday’s Connecting Artists & Fans panel, talks about the deal and his views on the music industry’s future
Until now, Kyte has done deals with individual artists like Alicia Keys and Pussycat Dolls, who’ve used the platform to launch their own channels. What is the significance of the UMG agreement?
We’re a technology company and so probably not best placed to do deals with only individual acts. With Kyte, we can enable all Universal artists and their fans to develop this bond that is stronger than ever before. They can interact with fans by showing what they do at home, on tour and backstage. It is the labels that have all the relationships with the artists and the rights, and labels are looking for new revenue opportunities. Although the music industry is doing better than ever before, the fact is that the recording side is struggling. Meanwhile, online video advertising is growing. Universal has made good money from its professionally produced music videos. Kyte is low cost to produce but the videos have the same value and can have the same impact.
Music has become a key element of so many social networking sites. How do Kyte and music match up?
Kyte connects recording artists directly with their fans, wherever they are — social networks, blogs, fan sites, mobile devices, etc. Artists can take pre-produced video and broadcast it on their Kyte channel. And if they want to deepen the level of engagement with fans, artists can ‘open up’ their Kyte channels and include user-generated content such as fan contests or fan photos from concerts. Legendary rock band AC/DC recently did this where fans could upload video of their favourite AC/DC memories to the AC/DC Kyte channel.
What revenue-making possibilities should the music industry executives gathered at MIDEM know from Kyte?
For monetisation, we are supporting more advertising types such as pre-roll, post-roll, and inshow overlays, and integration with leading ad servers such as Google AdSense for Video, DoubleClick DART, Lightning Cast and others.
You took part in yesterday’s MidemNet panel, Connecting Artists & Fans – A Showcase Of Services. What do you hope audiences learnt from that?
I hope they understand that there are now new ways for artists to engage with the fans. Before, the industry used to have e-mail newsletters; and before that, fans had to subscribe to magazines to find out what their artists are up to. Today, we can hear about our favourite artists several times a day via all kinds of media platforms. With a little effort, you can also create this connection between the artist and the fans and make it seamless.
Interview by Juliana Koranteng