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Hulu keeps trucking along with Plan A, even though its corporate parents and the rest of the market have developed a case of the meanies. As long expected, the site is making a play into music, today announcing a limited distribution deal with EMI and the launch of a Norah Jones music video section.
The market for music is not as wide-open as was Hulu’s opportunity with TV shows a couple years ago. Universal Music Group and Sony Music are working with YouTube on the launch of a new destination site called Vevo, which has been called from the outset a “Hulu for music videos.” Warner Music also just made up with YouTube, allowing for its content to return to the site itself.
The Norah Jones deal includes a library of the artist’s music videos, concert footage and interviews accessible to Hulu’s U.S. users. and accompanied by lovely 30-second pre-roll ads (grr). EMI said artists from its Virgin, Capitol and Blue Note labels will follow Jones onto Hulu.
Hulu’s Andy Forssell, senior vice president for content and distribution, told the New York Times that Hulu has revised its idea of a massive music video library to building “an immersive experience around certain artists.” While a more limited approach is going to seem odd to users, it might be financially prudent; the music labels have been able to extract an arm and a leg for their content from many web startups, and Hulu doesn’t want to give up any more of its limbs.