Last week, Hip Hop impresario/curator/label owner/salesman/media mogul Sean Combs, known by as many title as he has nicknames, launched REVOLT TV, a new music television channel with a social media twist. Using the already insurmountable yet still growing power of outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others, Combs hopes to make music television relevant and cogent again by letting fans become the content creators, reporters, contributors and hosts of this new venture.
It seems that the main ideas behind REVOLT TV are fan engagement and the curating of original (or as original as possible), creative content from artists that otherwise would not make it onto mainstream music airwaves. From the media rounds that Puffy has made, from The Breakfast Club to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, he’s looking to get a wide range of artists, fans, and tastemakers involved in REVOLT. And if we know Puffy, from his days as Andre Harrell’s intern to his founding of Bad Boy to now, we know that he’s great at being Hip Hop’s most important salesman of the culture and the brand.
But that’s not to say that there aren’t issues with what REVOLT is trying to do or become. It’s been a long time since an all-music channel has been relevant when it comes to breaking the latest and greatest, and letting fans discover their favorite new artist. Sure, you have the “You Oughtta Know” series from VH1, and how FUSE is probably the main channel for all things music. But how many years has it been since the likes of VH1, MTV and BET, now controlled wholly by Viacom, have even had an interest in music, music videos and the like? Shows like 106 & Park and VH1’s Top 20 Countdown are all well and good, but seriously, is it as important as it once was? I don’t think so. So essentially, REVOLT seems like it has a bit of a mountain to climb in terms of the relevancy of a music channel.
Then, there’s the biggest spin and twist that REVOLT is looking to use to it’s advantage to fill a gaping void as the antithesis to all those other stations: the power that exists within social media. Again, all well and good. But there seem to be a few things that artists and fans will have to agree to in order to be part of the REVOLT revolution. Namely, access to their social media content, from Facebook posts and Tweets to Instagram pictures. Which begs the questions: who gets to own and control that content? Who gets to use it in whatever way they see fit? Who gets credit and who doesn’t? Basically, it’s a question of ownership in our connected, social media driven society.
Much like the supposed debacle currently being debated in D.C. over Healthcare.gov, REVOLT TV is sure to face it’s share of criticism, slip-ups, mistakes and all kinds of backlash. But one thing that you can’t deny is that Puffy knows how to sell it and how to make it at least seem important, especially if you’re a music fan. We’ve got to give it time, and I anticipate it will be one hell of a ride when REVOLT TV finds its wings.