Is YouTube doomed?

So, I just did this post on music videos on YouTube.

Before that, I did a post on music and the Long Tail.

And there was this post on YouTube’s new user license.

And now you can trace the tracks of my tears. YouTube is on my mind a lot recently. I wish I had invented YouTube.

YouTube is the ultimate Long Tail invention. It has no inventory and it exists purely to serve markets of one a billion of times over.

Except for one niggling little problem: It has no revenue model.

Well, it could serve banner ads, but when you’re engaged in a good video, you’re not likely to click on a banner. I suppose in-stream ads might work, but those could also become annoying and eventually damaging to audience retention. The technology doesn’t seem to exist yet for contextual text ads related to video. I guess that leaves selling P2P content (as the new license agreement seems to hint at).

But if the lack of revenue doesn’t kill YouTube, I think Big Media just might. There’s already been one copyright lawsuit. Peer media is great, but there is a legitimate question around “where would YouTube be without copyrighted material?

Will we look back on this as the golden age of YouTube?

In YouTube’s favor is that social media is growing in both abundance and quality, while big media is waking up to the value of peer-driven viral marketing. That may help YouTube avoid the fate of Napster, if it can just figure out how to make money.

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