YouTube Click To Buy Links and iTunes

Yesterday the YouTube team announced via their blog that they would begin incorporating “click-to-buy” links which direct users to iTunes or Amazon.com alongside videos of select YouTube partners.  According to the blog, the links are intended to help scratch that “I love this song/game, I wish I could buy it right now!” itch that viewers tend to get when viewing streaming content.

Should users really dig the new in-game video for “Spore”, for instance (and not be too put off by the DRM issues), they can click on the “Buy this item” link to open a link to the purchase page for the game at Amazon.com.  Music videos featuring this link (like Katy Perry’s aggressively omnipresent “I Kissed A Girl”) will direct you to the song in the iTunes store, providing Apple yet another revenue stream.

While YouTube receives a cut from each sale made using its new links, but that commission is unlikely to affect Apple’s bottom line.  EMI and Universal, the two labels partnering with YouTube for the initial launch of this, will foot the bill for the video site’s share.  If this latest step towards monetizing YouTube is successful however, expect to see all parties to walk away with a lot more money.

With Apple’s encouragement and a positive response from YouTube visitors, the other major music labels will likely follow EMI and Universal. Unobtrusive revenue generating measures like this one tend to resonate with consumers who would otherwise be put off by more confrontational sales tactics.  Big enough numbers could even attract other media corporations (such as prodigal son NBC), like TV networks and movie studios, to enter the fray and offer links to their own iTunes content.  Similar integration on a handheld platform, like the iPhone between apps, seems like a reasonable next step.

Will this affect your media buying habits?  Did you impulse buy “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel when you saw Say Anything and hate the prospect of similar bad decisions becoming an everyday part of your YouTube viewing experience?

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