A gang of Jups spent some quality time with a gang of MTV Music/Logo execs today. MTV has a perhaps surprisingly solid online story to tell, and one that is rather counterintuitive, coming from a Big (Old?) Media Brand.

It’s using its Flux distributed social media platform to build a lot of relatively low-cost mini-sites supporting shows and themes. The uber-brand MTV doesn’t even play much of a role herding cats, which is right on-trend. MTV is totally onto the notion of a loosely-connected network in the modern, deconstructed Website world. They call it federated media.

It’s also returning a bit to its music roots, something I wouldn’t have expected, and aiming to supplant Yahoo Music and MySpace. It’s aggressively doing Internet video syndication (watch for a forthcoming JupiterResearch report). It’s digitizing, chapterizing, and metadata-ing its archives, with the idea of spreading clips far and wide, on and off sites it controls. (It costs an “insignificant” couple hundred grand to do that to Jackass content with partner Dickhouse Productions. Wow, only big media would call that insignificant.)

Other bits:

– Smart thinking about lyrics search, SEO, and music videos
– All syndication will carry ads along with content, rather than primarily functioning as audience acquisition tool
– A blast from the past: MTV still epitomizes “illusionary programming” on occasion, where a strong editorial hand helps give the audience the illusion it’s in control
– I remain skeptical — okay, totally unconvinced — that avatars and VR are a way to leapfrog social media as executed by social networks. Fortunately, MTV’s strategy is not totally dependent on this
– In an hour and a half, Rhapsody got 2 minutes

Again, a pretty compelling story from a supposed digital dinosaur. Maybe that online youth audience isn’t quite locked up after all.