by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
music, rio caraeff, videos

google, universal music, vevo, youtube

Universal, YouTube Collaboration To Be Run By Someone Who Sees The Bigger Picture

from the a-good-first-step dept

At the beginning of March, I questioned the wisdom of Universal Music and YouTube teaming up to create a separate site just for Universal Music, called Vevo. While I thought it could be interesting, it really depended on the execution, and the early talk about it seemed to miss the point. That is, it said that YouTube would supply the "technology" and Universal would supply the music. Of course, what that's missing is that much of the value in YouTube isn't in the technology (which many others have replicated), but in the community. So, if Vevo was to get anywhere, it would need to recognize that fact, rather than simply looking at YouTube as a tech vendor.

At the end of March, in a totally separate post, I wrote about my surprise at seeing my fellow keynote presenter at the Leadership Music Digital Summit, Rio Caraeff of Universal Music, present a reasonable vision for where the music industry needed to be: getting away from selling "music" and in creating better, more valuable experiences that simply can't be replicated by file sharing. This was in stark contrast to what Universal Music's own CEO had been saying for years. While Caraeff admitted that it was still a struggle to get this message through to everyone at Universal, he believed in it strongly.

That's why it's noteworthy that Caraeff has now been put in charge of the Vevo project. I'm still not convinced it's anything more than a boondoggle that will go nowhere quickly, but putting Caraeff in charge of it immediately makes it a much more interesting project to follow. The real question is what he does with it, and whether the bosses back at Universal Music actually give him enough free reign to let him turn the site into what it needs to be. I wish I could be optimistic, but given the major record labels' track record in dealing with such things, I still think the chances are pretty slim.

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  • identicon
    TheUsualGuyWhoThinksMikeIsADipshit (aka YouAreWron, 11 May 2009 @ 5:54pm

    somewhat actually agreeing with mike

    I disagree with your notion of a "community" on youtube. The commenting on youtube is retarded and unusable. The value that youtube has (which other sites don't) is that youtube has ANYTHING you want. If you can't find something on youtube or google, there's a 95% chance or more that it simply doesn't exist. However, these labels want to create their own walled gardens, when they only have 20% market share or less. Who wants to go to a site that has only 20% of the videos you want? Most people have a hard time naming what song is playing... now you want them to know the artist too?

    As we've seen with the AP syndication vs aggregators issue, the problem is that having even lead-ins from other sites destroys content creators' business model because people don't stick around in the incredibly small walled garden. Much of the content industry has survived off of forced bundling, and the web (and especially aggregators) breaks that. I would say that universal music should be accessible from youtube searches, which would then take you to the vevo domain, but what value is vevo adding? Merely adding the content isn't enough because there are 24839429 other music videos right in line even if every universal artist was taken off youtube. That's WHY Warner and AP bitch and complain about Google running content. They realize that Google adds a ton of value, and that's why they're too afraid of taking their content off completely.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    robin, 11 May 2009 @ 6:10pm

    Best O'Luck

    I wish your bud the best, but he's up against knuckleheads like Mr. Bronfman of WMG:

    who states quite clearly that Vevo should charge admission.

    Also, in reading interviews with Rio, he seems to be falling into the trap of over-valuing the content, in this case videos, which being digital can be infinitely distributed.

    To be fair, he also has a dozen points and understandings that seem spot on. Hope he isn't turned into sausage by his bosses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      YouAreWrong, 11 May 2009 @ 8:47pm

      Re: Best O'Luck

      i agree with your assessment of the content industry severely overvaluing content. in a pre-digital world, regardless of where you bought your CD, your consumption of content was almost exactly the same regardless of who you bought it from. sure, there were a few independent shops where you could hang out and sit on a bean bag chair, but the gross majority of sales happened in the mall store or the big box. however, digital changes that because digital distribution varies from site to site, and itunes currently sets that standard.

      simply put, the distribution method adds a ton of value that the label is not delivering. so this mentality of going from one distribution site to another (as you point out in the PC article re: Warner music) is just not focused. it's much more important to have a seamless system, and capitalize on that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2009 @ 7:08pm

    free *rein*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2009 @ 9:38am


    ...Caraeff has now been put in charge of the Vevo project.

    That was his punishment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob Wan-Qi Kim, 13 May 2009 @ 2:20pm

    Youtube is replaying AOL

    When AOL's core business stood on one wobbly drunk leg, it decided to stablize by grasping TimeWarner. We know now that they both hit the asphalt and that neither passed their breathalizer.

    Youtube's got far bigger issues to worry about. @youtube squarely get back on both feet first.

    This is how I suggest you do that:

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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