EMI joins Universal-backed music video site Vevo

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2009 5:51 PM

Music videos from Norah Jones, Coldplay, Katy Perry and other artists under EMI Group PLC are headed to an online music video venture, Vevo, set to launch Tuesday with a gala in New York.

EMI's videos on Vevo will join content from Universal Music Group, which holds the largest stake in the new venture. Sony Music Entertainment is also an equity partner along with Abu Dhabi Media Co., an arm of the Abu Dhabi government.

EMI, which is based in London, will not take a stake in the company.

Discussions continue with Warner Music Group Corp., the only major recording company not yet involved with Vevo. Warner Music has been separately developing its own artist-branded video channels on YouTube.

Faced with declining sales of compact discs, recording companies are experimenting with new ways of distributing their music online through ventures such as Vevo. It will show videos for free, supported by ads.

Such deals are not exclusive, however. Last month, EMI became the only major recording company to put its music videos on Hulu, which primarily carries television shows and movies.

Vevo launches Tuesday as both a Web site and an embedded video player that will replace Universal, Sony and EMI videos now available on Google Inc.'s video site YouTube.

Over the next year, as current licensing deals expire, Vevo's player will gradually replace online videos that are on artist Web sites and other online destinations such as AOL.

The recording companies, led by Universal, a unit of France's Vivendi SA, are seeking to gain a greater share of advertising revenue from music videos than is currently generated on sites such as YouTube.

They also seek to separate professionally produced content from the user-generated fare on YouTube, while better matching advertisers with a youthful demographic.

YouTube will receive a small percentage of advertising revenue for providing Vevo with technology.

Vevo has hired its own ad sales team and is led by CEO Rio Caraeff, a Universal digital strategy executive. About 20 advertisers have signed on, including McDonald's Corp., MasterCard Inc., Unilever PLC and Nissan Motor Co.'s Infiniti brand of luxury cars.

The Vevo Web site and player will also have links to allow viewers to buy songs from Amazon.com or Apple Inc.'s iTunes. Links to artist merchandise will point to Bravado, Universal's online retailing company.

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On the Net:

http://vevo.com

(This version CORRECTS to note that YouTube will get a small percentage of ad revenue from the Vevo venture.)