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Online Music Video Site Signs Up Global Indies

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LONDON (Reuters) – MUZU.TV, an Irish-based video website, has signed a licensing deal with the agency behind the world's leading independent music labels, giving it access to footage from the Arctic Monkeys to Radiohead.

The site http://www.muzu.tv, which pays artists through advertising when their music is played online, has won plaudits from the industry for its design, with users watching over 7 million videos a month.

The latest deal is significant because Merlin, which represents the world's most important set of independent music rights, has not signed licensing deals with any other video music site including YouTube or MySpace.

For Muzu, the deal will further boost its offering after it signed deals in some territories with the four major labels: Universal, EMI, Sony and Warner.

Merlin chief executive Charles Caldas told Reuters it chosen Muzu because it recognized the value of Merlin's rights and enabled artists to make money from their video content.

"Independent labels have found many ways to monetize their audio content but there have been very few outlets that repay the investment that it takes to create video content," he said in an interview.

"So having an outlet that not only allows you to find a commercial way to showcase your video but also is helping and enabling you to digitize content that you might not otherwise is a really valuable opportunity for any label."

Caldas said video footage had become increasingly important with the introduction of fan and band websites, social network pages and music DVDs.

Under the deal, Merlin artists will be able to embed the Muzu player on their official sites and social networking pages.

Artists signed to Merlin member labels include Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Katie Melua, Franz Ferdinand, Vampire Weekend and The White Stripes.

Dublin-based Muzu launched in July 2008 and allows users to create, watch and share music video playlists. It provides free access to thousands of hours of diverse music content from concerts, backstage footage, documentaries and interviews.

(Editing by Dan Lalor)





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