For the uninitiated, Vevo is a joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Abu Dhabi Media, with EMI licensing its music video content to the group without taking a stake. Launched in December 2009, Vevo videos are syndicated across the Web, with Google and Vevo sharing advertising revenue between them.
Two weeks ago Vevo rolled out its new “bigger, smarter, faster” video platform, whilst simultaneously making Facebook mandatory for those wishing to sign-up for the service. Not a popular move, sure, but one that doesn’t seem to have caused too many issues for it so far, as he revealed that over 100,000 people are now registering each day through the new Facebook-only conduit.
Show me the money
In terms of money, things are looking not too shabby, and this is something which led to the inevitable discussion on piracy.
“Last year, we made $150m in revenue, and we paid out over $100m in royalties [cumulative over two years] to the artists, song-writers, and record companies,” says Caraeff.
“In less than two years, we’ve generated more revenue and paid out more revenue than any other music video platform has in the 20 years before,” he continues. “Advertising is a great model when you’re trying to reach billions of people and everyone on the planet, but it’s not the only model. It’s not healthy for any business to only have one business model and one revenue stream. But it’s the model we chose to launch with, and we have over 700 advertisers we work with today.”
The ‘p’ word
When discussing online content with any captains of industry, the ‘p’ word is never too far away from discussion. “There are more ways of making money from music than there have been in the past,” says Caraeff. But despite this overarching positivity, he later added.
“Piracy is a bit like the war on drugs, it’s an unwinnable war in my opinion. But that’s not necessarily the opinion of the industry, but I think the solution is to provide access to entertainment to as many people as possible, through a variety of different models – including the free models.”
Indeed, whilst Vevo doesn’t directly have to worry about piracy, Caraeff is right. I don’t think anyone really believes that we’ll ever completely stamp out online piracy. But Vevo is certainly having a good stab at providing a perfectly legal alternative to BitTorrenting the latest Coldplay or Adele video. And Careff reckons we’re currently in a major transitional period whereby ownership is starting to take a back-seat, with one music-streaming service in particular a good case-in-point.
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