License article

At long last, VEVO is music to our ears

MUSIC video site VEVO has launched in Australia, making this the fourth country — after the US, Canada and the UK — to receive the service since its debut in December 2009.

Conceived as the ''Hulu of music videos'' (in reference to the US video-on-demand giant), VEVO is a joint venture between music labels Sony and Universal and Abu Dhabi Media. Of the other majors, EMI licenses content to the service but Warner does not.

VEVO claims to have 45,000 videos from 11,000 artists, with 85 per cent of labels — including independents — represented.

Despite ambitions to be available globally by 2010, VEVO's roll-out has been hampered by complications arising from territory-specific licensing deals. However, it has been available through Google's YouTube service since launch.

The stand-alone site brings a host of features to Australia for the first time, including synchronisation with a user's iTunes playlist to create a tailored music video channel.

''VEVO offers fans the opportunity to discover new music, by offering videos matched against what they've already watched, and the opportunity to go deeper into an artist's catalogue,'' said VEVO's Nic Jones.


The company claims to deliver 3.3 billion views per month, including 41 million views and 5.5 million unique viewers per month in Australia. It makes money by playing a single ad every seven minutes, but the US parent has flagged the possibility of charging for premium content in the future.

Its massive reach has led to VEVO being hailed in some quarters as a potential saviour of the music business.

But while the company delivered revenue of $150 million in 2011 and claims to have returned $100 million of that to rights holders, some critics have argued that artists see little of that money.

US independent music publisher Matt Pincus claimed in February that ''independent publishers and the many songwriters we represent, have not received any money from Vevo. Ever.''

The money paid by VEVO goes to music labels, as rights holders. It is then up to the labels, not VEVO, to pay the artists — a situation complicated by the fact VEVO is significantly owned by two of the four major labels.

''What happens between an artist and their label or distributor in their contractual relationship are simply not something that we are party to and every artist's deal is different,'' VEVO CEO Rio Caraeff said in February.

twitter Karl Quinn is on Twitter: @karlkwin