Vevo: The Internet's Music Overlord

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Think back to the time before Spotify and Pandora. The time when music cost 99 cents per song and your iPod Mini was filled with the latest Fall Out Boy tracks. There was one bastion of free and limitless music--Youtube. One day, everything changed when the new kid in town took over the YouTube music space. What is Vevo? Vevo was developed by Universal Music Group – a subsidiary of media giant NBC Universal – during 2008. Vevo quickly partnered with Sony Music group, and eventually with Google and Amazon too. Consequently from the end of 2009 into 2010, artists under companies partnered with Vevo had their music moved from their original YouTube channels to their Vevo sponsored channels.

After 2010, Vevo continued to grow increasingly large. Vevo music streaming became available on iOS, Xbox, Roku, Android, and Internet television. Advertising became aggressive as YouTube allowed ads to play before videos. Vevo thereby used YouTube as its main source of user interaction, placing ads all around the video to be watched. Vevo now brings in around $150 million annually.

Vevo’s enemies grew more angered with every new development. Warner Brothers and MTV Music have formed a strict alliance against the company. Vevo’s advertisers began to start telling the company that they do not like the profanity and illicitness that some of the artists represent. For example, companies such as McDonalds aim to put forth a family friendly image, which is hard to do by advertising on a video about a “big booty hoe.”

Vevo also strictly enforces copyright laws on the Internet. YouTube is no longer a place where any user can post a video using any song as its music. Vevo scans all video uploads, looking for trademarked sounds. Any violation found results in the music being deleted from the video.

Most recently in 2013, Vevo launched an online streaming television channel on its website. Does this mark an intent to branch out into broadcast television? It certainly feels like it. As MTV and Vevo build their armies, music fans everywhere shouldn’t be surprised if the online music scene is completely different by this time next year.

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