Posted by Adam Fairholm on July 11, 2012 9:56am
We've known for a while now that Vevo's content deal with YouTube is up at the end of the year, but we've recently started to see some rumblings of how that negotiation is going. Today's article from the LA Times about Vevo founder Doug Morris' thoughts on the partnership gives us a defininitive answer of where things are: Vevo would like more money for their music videos, please.
Sidenote: Hands up if you knew Vevo was founded by a classic record label type executive guy. We tend to associate internet companies like Vevo with young, savvy entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, but Morris is old school. His story about how he got the idea of Vevo (by watching his grandson watch a Dr. Dre video on Yahoo!) gets less romantic by the time we get to the part where he just wanted to know how much money they were making from it, but you have to give the man credit for spearheading the effort to get a company like Vevo up and running and licensing content.
So the real question is how much does YouTube need Vevo and how much does Vevo need YouTube? Mouse on over to this page on YouTube, and you'll see five of the top six videos of all time on YouTube are Vevo music videos. There was a time not too long ago when that list was owned by viral videos like Tootin' Bathtime Cousins owned that chart. From a content standpoint, does YouTube really want to go back to those days? Vevo (mostly) solved YouTube's massive problem of searching for a music video and getting 15 cell phone videos of people filming TVs showing the music video - I don't want to go back to those days either. Music videos has become such an integral part of what YouTube is that it's difficult to imagine that YouTube wouldn't suffer a blow when Vevo yanks their content.
On Vevo's side, Morris says that there are at least three other companies that would love Vevo's content: Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. Out of these three, it feels like Facebook would be the only really viable option for a successful outlet for what Vevo has to offer. Music videos are the perfect type of sharable content, and a built-in music video integration for Facebook would be a natural fit. Then again, Facebook doesn't really have a ready-to-go platform for those music videos. Do they get a special app that sits in your sidebar? Do each of them get a page? The implementation details are not immediately obvious.
Apple, as you may or may not know, has been selling music videos on iTunes for close to a decade. They don't really have a web-based platform available to handle that content - everything is centered around their iTunes platform which is more of an air traffic controller for content and your devices than a place where you spend a lot of time (remember Ping?). Microsoft at least has a web platform in the form of MSN Video, but I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.
So what do you think? If Vevo music videos were to dissapear off of YouTube tomorrow, would it matter? Let us know in the comments.