What happened to Vevo?

Vevo is a multinational video hosting service that is most well-known for uploading music videos on YouTube.

The company has also produced content for distribution across various online platforms and hardware devices such as smart televisions. 

The service was founded in 2009 as a joint venture between two record companies: Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and EMI.

Initially, Vevo entered into an ad-revenue share agreement with Google where music videos would be hosted on YouTube.

Vevo’s own website was launched simultaneously, featuring around 30,000 videos from some of the world’s most popular music artists.

In May 2018, Vevo announced that it would focus on YouTube syndication and shut down its website and app.

Considering the company’s website saw 25 billion views per month and featured over 330,000 videos, many saw this as a somewhat perplexing decision.

Formation and PurposeVevo was formed in 2009 as a joint venture between two major music entertainment companies: Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment. The primary purpose of Vevo was to create an online platform for music videos, allowing artists to showcase their work and generate revenue through advertising.
Launch and Early SuccessVevo launched in December 2009 and quickly gained popularity as a destination for official music videos from top artists and record labels. Its content was available on various platforms, including YouTube, where it established a significant presence.
Partnerships and Content DistributionVevo entered into licensing agreements with several major music labels, including UMG, Sony Music, and later, Warner Music Group. These partnerships allowed Vevo to offer a vast library of officially licensed music videos and exclusive content.
Monetization through AdvertisingVevo primarily monetized its platform through advertising, with revenue generated from ads displayed before, during, and after music videos. Advertisers saw Vevo as a valuable platform to reach a global audience of music enthusiasts.
Expansion and Mobile AppsVevo expanded its reach by launching mobile apps for various platforms, including iOS and Android. These apps allowed users to access music videos and other content on their mobile devices, further extending Vevo’s presence.
Challenges and ChangesDespite its early success, Vevo faced challenges in the changing landscape of music consumption and digital media. As music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music grew in popularity, the role of music videos evolved, and YouTube became a significant platform for music discovery.
Shift to YouTubeOver time, Vevo began to shift its focus to YouTube, where it had a significant presence. It decided to concentrate on YouTube as the primary platform for hosting its music videos, gradually phasing out its standalone website and apps.
Rebranding and Content StrategyVevo underwent a rebranding in 2020, positioning itself as the “new home for music” on YouTube. It continued to work closely with major record labels and artists to produce and promote official music videos, live performances, and other music-related content on the YouTube platform.
Current StatusVevo continued to thrive as a major music video platform on YouTube. It remained a valuable destination for artists and record labels to showcase their music videos and connect with a global audience.

World domination and complacency

Vevo had dreams to become a world-dominating company early in its existence.

For one, it had an immensely popular website and companion app.

Vevo also owned most, if not all, of the world’s most famous music artists and their music.

The company had unbridled power to sell merchandise, control advertisers, and even add its brand name to the names of individual artists’ YouTube channels.

Over time, this power caused complacency within the company.

With its sleek website and advertising revenue that it did not have to share with YouTube, Vevo believed the agreement with the video platform was unnecessary.

The ramifications for Vevo’s plans did not go unnoticed in the industry. Parting ways with YouTube would mean that almost every music video would have to be pulled from the site save for indie tracks.

Many were also fearful that with every music video found in only one place, Vevo would implement a subscription model and charge consumers for music videos that had always been free.

Website and applications shutdown

In May 2018, YouTube announced the new streaming service YouTube Music which would feature a mobile app created to play music, including live versions, covers, remixes, and rare tracks.

This placed extra pressure on Vevo, which was already unable to compete with YouTube’s market dominance and a new player called Spotify. 

With most of Vevo’s ad revenue sent to record producers and YouTube and the company unable to raise capital from its majority owners, Vevo decided to shut down its website and apps three days later.

The company then decided to focus on advertising on its distribution platforms and sponsoring video premieres.

Primarily, this involved a renewed focus on YouTube and a new partnership.

YouTube Partnership

Perhaps sensing it would never become a powerful, standalone entity, Vevo entered into a new agreement with YouTube where the video site would sell Vevo’s music clips directly to advertisers.

Before the deal was struck, Vevo and its sales team had first access to this revenue source, with Google earning what it could from automated ads.

While the merit of the deal was debated for some time, it was noted that Google’s team of over 15,000 sellers would generate more ad revenue for both companies irrespective of which made the sale.

What’s more, Vevo videos would become part of YouTube’s “Google Preferred” tier which houses the platform’s most valuable, brand-safe content.

YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl noted that “the availability of Vevo in Google Preferred enables UMG, Sony, and Vevo to participate in YouTube’s premium inventory sold to advertisers. It also increases the sales force deployed against music videos and maximizes revenue for artists and songwriters.

Today, the Vevo website remains, and content can be watched on many devices and networks, including Apple TV, Comcast, Fetch, Foxtel, Roku, Fire TV, Virgin Media, and T-Mobile.

Key takeaways:

  • Vevo is a multinational video hosting service that is most well-known for uploading music videos on YouTube. The service was founded in 2009 as a joint-venture between Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and EMI.
  • Vevo wanted to become a dominant company in the music industry but ultimately underestimated the size, power, and influence of YouTube. Many feared the company would pull its music from YouTube and charge consumers a subscription fee to access the content on its own website.
  • Receiving a relatively small percentage of ad revenue and unable to raise the capital to expand, Vevo perhaps reluctantly entered into a new agreement with YouTube to become one of its preferred brands.

Quick Timeline

Vevo’s Founding and Initial Success:

  • Vevo was founded in 2009 as a joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and EMI.
  • The company entered into an ad-revenue share agreement with Google to host music videos on YouTube.
  • Vevo launched its own website and app featuring music videos from popular artists.

World Domination and Complacency:

  • Vevo aimed to become a dominant force in the music industry, owning rights to famous music artists and their content.
  • Complacency set in as Vevo enjoyed ad revenue from its website and believed it could compete without YouTube.

Website and App Shutdown:

  • In May 2018, Vevo decided to shut down its website and apps due to financial challenges and inability to compete with YouTube and Spotify.
  • The company focused on advertising and video premieres, primarily on YouTube.

YouTube Partnership:

  • Vevo entered into a new agreement with YouTube, allowing the video platform to sell Vevo’s music clips directly to advertisers.
  • Vevo videos became part of YouTube’s “Google Preferred” tier, maximizing revenue for artists and songwriters.

Vevo Today:

  • Vevo’s website still exists, and its content is available on various devices and networks, including Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV.

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