Too Much Free Time

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
api, cease and desist, copyright, music

muziic, vevo

Vevo Doesn't Put Ads In YouTube API, Gets Upset When Music Streaming Startup Uses That Fact

from the umm... dept

I actually had decently high hopes for Vevo, the partnership between Universal Music and YouTube to create a website for official music videos (currently from three of the four major record labels). I mean, I always figured that eventually the labels would screw stuff up, but I thought it actually had a shot at maybe being useful. The fact that Universal put Rio Caraeff in charge seemed like a good sign as well, since Caraeff seemed like the sort of music industry exec who understood the new marketplace for music, and wasn't encumbered with the "old ways" of doing things. But rather than a useful site, Vevo has basically been a cookie cutter version of what you would do if the record labels created their own YouTube. That is, it took none of the good parts of YouTube. Hell, it didn't even take the ability to handle a lot of traffic. For the first few days after it launched, Vevo just didn't work at all.

Its latest screwup was that it didn't include its preroll ads in the YouTube API, meaning that others who used the API could access and repurpose Vevo content without the ads, and even show the content outside the US (which Vevo currently does not allow). It didn't take long for one enterprising startup, Muziic, to do exactly that. Muziic has received some attention for basically using the YouTube API to create an iTunes-like experience out of YouTube videos (it also gets attention for being founded by a 16-year old). Muziic sent out an announcement this week about how it was using the YouTube API to add Vevo content, meaning you could access Vevo videos without the preroll ads and outside the US.

Vevo's first response? To send a cease and desist. At the very least, it wasn't a legal nastygram, but a more friendly cease & desist sent by Caraeff himself. But "cease" what? Muziic was using the API as designed, and even though Caraeff admits that Vevo is quickly scrambling to change the API, he still says Muziic needs to cease from using the Vevo logo or referencing the company's name. But Muziic used the name in an accurate and descriptive manner. It accurately noted that it was now offering Vevo content -- without ads and outside the US -- all legally via the use of the API provided by YouTube/Vevo itself.

Muziic's co-founder responded to Caraeff's email over at Hypebot, saying that he "was as shocked as anyone when I realized there were not yet any "pre-roll" advertisements for Vevo content in the API," but since it was how the company set up the API, it seems perfectly reasonable to use it that way. He also notes that he had reached out to Vevo prior to this to try to work out an arrangement with the company and got no response.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 3:55pm


    It's not a bug, it's an undocumented feature.

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

  2. identicon
    robin, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 8:12pm


    and in point of fact, earlier this year, 2009, youtube explicitly extended permission to this kid to use their api and embed their content as he saw fit.

    that's "getting it", which is not spelled vevo.

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

  3. identicon
    Jari Winberg, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 9:34pm

    why block access?

    Could someone explain why they block access from outside the US? I just don't get it. Music videos should be promoting the music, right?

    I was searching for a music video in YouTube, found it but couldn't watch it because Vevo blocked it. So I went to another site to watch it. The Vevo thingy doesn't make YouTube look that good.

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

  4. identicon
    Frank Wahl, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:14pm

    The kid saw the opening, and took it. Doesn't get much sweeter than fully-legal, fully-compliant innovation.

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

  5. icon
    Chargone (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:40pm

    Re: why block access?

    ... "windows"

    aka: the music industry are morons and/or wish to continue fueling piracy so they can point at it as a reason why they're loosing money.

    (the real reason for that loss, when/if it even exists, of course, being that they suck)

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

  6. identicon
    Jari Winberg, Dec 31st, 2009 @ 12:12am

    Re: Re: why block access?

    ... "windows"

    Thank god I don't have to clean that window because it's huge. The music video is almost ten years old.

    By blocking the access they made sure that I won't be interested in visiting that site in the future, even if they would grant an access some day.

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

  7. identicon
    Richard Altman, Dec 31st, 2009 @ 4:10pm

    Google and API

    APIs are now the stumbling block, it's now that there is no pitch anymore, you just build something using another companies infrastructure. The solution is to allow it, charge for bandwidth use and thats it. The advertising on the site should be for the site's creator and the traffic should be steered to the content makers, who in turn have to provide creative incentives for the customer. IF THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN, no idea will ever work that is thought of by the companies themselves, only the users who can create creative innovative methods of repurposing, retrieving and arranging the content, will ever create interest and work. Youtube was made because of flash video and theft, period. Google matches keywords and downloads whole sites and connects keywords between ad and content. Its all really simple, when any of these content industries think, that is usually the source of the problem. Music: press record, Movies: press record, both rely on a decades old structures for creating content that gets truncated via new tech but still like i'm typing these words, still are created in the old way. If every company just did what they did, and democratically figured out how to split the revenue based on practical facts like delivery and incentive, a lot of money could be made, headaches avoided and generally the evolution past this teenaged point of adolescent species.

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

  8. identicon
    anon, Dec 31st, 2009 @ 11:42pm

    Re: why block access?

    in short,
    it's a publishing/label/licensing issue caused by legacy market consumption conditions. in the past, to purchase music or consume music videos (by TV, Radio, Etc...) in a specific marketplace, you had to make a transaction in that geographic marketplace. the internet renders that physical restraint irrelevant due to the "world wide" aspect of it.

    for example, one artist might be on one publisher/label for distribution in the US, and another in Australia. in that case, Vevo's or the US label's contracts might cover the publishing costs for usage within the US. however, if a particular song/artist has different publishing/licensing/label in a different country, it becomes a big PITA. so it's easier to just handle domestic licensing/payments and skip the rest of world (which for what it's worth, can't be fairly monetized through domestic ad-sales anyways).

    ps. admittedly,this is a very rough description at best. as such, someone more knowledgable should feel free to fill in the legal details.

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

  9. identicon
    Tchiky, Jan 10th, 2010 @ 7:01am

    YT API

    Hi! Very nice post... Try the new youTube API example where you can search videos by keywords: tv, music, series, sports, entertainment, etc. the url of tv243 is Thanks for all

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

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