This week marked the revival of music videos as a consumable medium and a proposed art form. Leading the pack is Sean “Diddy” Combs, whom—after establishing himself as a jack-of-all trades entrepreneur—launched Revolt TV as a new cable channel dedicated to music and popular culture. The channel intends to deliver music videos, live performances, news, critiques on the culture, and interviews.
Airing on Time Warner Cable and Comcast, Revolt TV’s arrangement is a continuation of the rise in African-American owned and operated cable channels. But unlike Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s Aspire and Martin Luther King III’s Bounce TV, hunger for new music content is at an all-time high. Revolt will pursue a wide swath of viewers in different age ranges as it attempts to pick up where MTV and VH1 left off. The new network will break news about upcoming events, premiere new music videos from an array of artists, and impact audiences directly through social media channels.
Aiming to become the “ESPN of Music,” Combs describes the network as “the first channel created entirely from the ground up in this new era of social media.” Revolt is completely live, and hopes to mark all the great postmillennial music moments for television posterity. Diddy promises his latest endeavor is “for the artists by the artists. It’s your channel to do what you want to do, how you want to do it. You can show your art the way you want to show your art.”
So far, he’s fulfilled this promise, as one of the first videos played during launch—Gesaffelstein’s “Hate or Glory”—instantly lit up Twitter timelines with praise for the French DJ and producer.
Combs is already an expert on what makes you dance, groove, and buy in bulk. His multiplatinum success, coupled with his Forbes moneymaking appeal, proves that his intention of super-serving the young, growing music fan base is another bankable concept. Here are the five things Revolt can do to improve music TV as we know it.
1. Create Dynamic Events. In the wake of the digital explosion, people are looking for anything new to be a part of and witness. With Revolt’s musical focus going in all directions—EDM, hip-hop, pop, etc.—it helps to bridge the gap between music videos and original programming with surprise elements that happen live and in living color. Think back to when Revolt announced a surprise Jay Z concert in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. It was inundated with life, and they were all anticipating being intertwined with a musical moment of history. If Revolt can refine and hone that into a unique skill, they will truly be in the forefront of the musical revolution.
2. Give the People What They Want. Music fans crave new content from their favorite artist, whether they’re mainstream, underground, or purely unknown. For Revolt, this is unchiseled gold that Diddy and Revolt can harness to fuel their juggernaut network. While other networks like Music Choice, Fuse and, to some extent, VH1 are sticking with the old-school ways of offering new tunes, Revolt can offer something new by virtue of original programming that breaks down the inner-sanctum of the music industry. Audiences aren’t expecting Diddy to make a second BET, so he’ll win by catering to his diverse bandwidth.
3. Mix and Master the Pulpit. Revolt already appeals to audiences as a reliable guide through the ever-changing musical landscape. If the network succeeds in fixing its technical glitches, the ability to take people from the web, from social media and drive them through the linear channels is a win-win. Revolt, through driving the dialogue, can bridge the gap between new media and TV to truly become a platform-agnostic medium that could redefine the industry.
4. Merge Social Media Intimately. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are already a part of Revolt’s blueprint. In order to become a CNN-type brand, Diddy and co. will have to use their keen taste-making ears and eyes to amplify the effect. Creating Instagram contests, Twitter confessionals, and championed original content for social media will help Combs and Revolt to bring “kids” back to television. As we live in a “notification” generation, the ability to be first is more important than ever. If Revolt is able to utilize the web 3.0 to propel the latest news to their demographic, that alone will prove its worth.
5. Tap Into Small Businesses. Last year, Combs spoke during the Television Critics Association press tour, but he should also have taken time out for the Small Business Summit. Why? Besides tapping into an underserved market, Revolt could direct the attention of its growing audience towards the bulk of 22.9 million small businesses in the U.S. Allowing these mom-and-pop companies to air their related content and commercials on the newly birthed channel could help to increase awareness of all brands involved, create another unique element for the public to engage in, and make our president proud.