HITS Daily Double
"Hopefully, we keep picking the right acts, because our batting average has been pretty good."


VH1's Rick Krim Looks to Brand the New Artist Program and Increase Rotations

You’ll be increasing the visibility of “You Oughta Know” acts on-air until the end of the year.
We consider it the pre-eminent franchise in the video music world for breaking new artists. We’re taking our three most recent picks—Sara Bareilles, Chrisette Michele and Ingrid Michaelson—and putting them in our XL rotation, which had previously been reserved for the biggest hits. The thing about these artists is you’re not seeing them everywhere. We’re trying to take a much more aggressive, leading role in breaking them. This is an opportunity to really turn up the heat. It’s our little gift to the music industry and we figured this is the right time of year to do it.

Some of this year’s “YOK” success stories include Feist, Amy Winehouse and Colbie Caillat. The latest batch of artists is all female. Was that intentional?
Not at all. It was very organic. We went through a period before that, where it was guys, like Mat Kearney, James Blunt, The Feeling and Rocco de Luca. The nice part of this is there’s a mix of genres. Chrisette Michele comes out of Urban, Sara Bareilles from the online world and Ingrid Michaelson is truly an unsigned artist—she put out her own album, which RED is distributing, and gained traction from an Old Navy ad. It’s a great story.

What’s up for the new year?
Our big priority is blowing up this franchise, and finding other ways to incorporate it throughout the channel. Make it bigger, louder and more successful.

You’re picking up where radio has left off in exposing new artists.
We’ve had success with acts like Regina Spektor, who had no airplay.

How have you integrated “YOK” into VH1.com?
There’s a “You Oughta Know” page online. It actually started on the Web, and then we’ve grown it into an on-air franchise. We have live performances by the artists as part of our “Online Unplugged” series. We try to put as much content as humanly possible online so that when people can get a much deeper experience than just seeing the video. It’s not just playing a song. We feel people want to dig to find out more about the artists.

What kind of retail initiatives have you taken?
We try to get involved as early as possible before release. A number of those albums have gone out stickered. We’ve had a “You Oughta Know” section in Best Buy. And we’re about to embark on our third “YOK” tour after Mat Kearney with Rocco de Luca, and Brandi Carlile with A Fine Frenzy. Next year, we’re having alum James Blunt with Sara Bareilles.

We look for every opportunity to make the consumer aware of “You Oughta Know.” And hopefully, we keep picking the right acts, because our batting average has been pretty good. We want to keep giving the music biz a much-needed push.