Fan videos make labels more money than official music videos

Well this is interesting: Lip sync videos and other fan adaptations of pop hits make record labels more money that the official music videos produced by the labels themselves, according to a report by the Toronto Star (hat tip to hypebot). The paper quotes Universal’s global head of digital business saying calling fan videos a massive growth area, and adding: “We’re very excited about the creativity of consumers using our repertoire and creating their own versions of our videos.” The flow of money is largely due to the fact that YouTube gives record labels the option to monetize third-party videos that use their music, instead of taking them down.

Universal: Artists didn’t consent to Megaupload video

Megaupload sued Universal Music in federal court today, alleging that the music label is trying to censor a promotional video for the file hoster through bogus take-down notices. However, Universal said that some of the artists depicted in the video never consented to it.

Vevo Stumbles Out of the Gate



If Vevo is supposed to be the future of the music industry, that future has gotten off to a slow and ignominious start. Apparently Vevo’s servers are still hungover from a wild night of partying with Bono, Adam Lambert, Mariah Carey, and Lady Gaga, because it’s the day after launch and the new music video site is slow to load — that is, if you can get it to load at all.

The Universal Music Group-Sony Music joint venture has big aspirations for revolutionizing the way that viewers interact with artists and their music videos — and for better monetizing those videos with ads from premium brands running alongside them.

At last night’s launch event, Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff stressed that building a positive user experience would be key to the site’s success. “If we focus on the fan, if we focus on the experience, the rest will fall in line,” he said. But the user experience thus far has been sub-optimal, to say the least.

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Bono: Vevo Is Rebirth of Music Industry

VevoOnline music video destination site Vevo launched tonight with an introduction by Bono, who forecast that the new site would strike a new paradigm in the music industry. “Friends, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of a great old cash cow that was the music business,” Bono said. “But friends, we’re also here to celebrate new shoots, new life, and the birth of a new model for our industry.”

Taking a page out of Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s playbook, Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff told the crowd at the company’s launch event in Manhattan that the new site would be all about the user experience. “If we focus on the fan, if we focus on the experience, the rest will fall in line,” Caraeff said. But then taking a page out the music industry’s playbook, he welcomed Mariah Carey, Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga to the stage. Let’s just say record labels don’t do humble very well.

Vevo will have a huge amount of video content at launch, as its owners control more than 80 percent of all music videos created. YouTube provides backend management for the videos and will also drive viewers to the new destination site. Read More about Bono: Vevo Is Rebirth of Music Industry

Vevo Gets Music Content from CBS Interactive

VEVO, the forthcoming music video site from Universal and Sony music (and powered by YouTube (s GOOG)), announced today that it will also be getting content from “the vaults” of CBS Interactive Music Group (s CBS).

Starting next year, VEVO will run programming from and more than 90 CBS radio stations. Content will include live performances and in-studio sessions, along with interviews and other exclusive behind-the-scenes stuff. VEVO also plans to make events like KROQ’s Acoustic Christmas concert available through the site.

VEVO is set to launch in the U.S. and Canada on Dec. 8th. In the meantime, the site’s blog launched a cute li’l video yesterday entitled “The Great VEVO Gummi Bear Battle,” which, we guess, is supposed to get us psyched for next week’s debut.

Abu Dhabi Media Invests in Vevo

Vevo, the forthcoming premium music video site, has received a strategic investment from the Abu Dhabi Media Co. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources tell MediaMemo that the transaction values the venture at $300 million, which matches previous reported valuations Vevo was seeking during fund raising in August.

Vevo is owned by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment (s SNE) and will be powered by YouTube. From the Abu Dhabi Media Co.’s web site:

Abu Dhabi Media Company is one of the fastest growing, multi-platform media organizations in the region created in 2007 as a public joint stock company from the assets of Emirates Media Incorporated.

Abu Dhabi Media Company owns and operates a range of television channels (Abu Dhabi Al Oula, Abu Dhabi Al Emarat, Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya, Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya 2, Abu Dhabi Al Riyadiya 3 Abu Dhabi +1 and National Geographic Abu Dhabi) and a network of radio stations (Abu Dhabi FM, Emarat FM, Star FM, Holy Quran FM), as well as number of publications (Al Ittihad newspaper, The National Newspaper, Zahrat Al Khaleej magazine, Super magazine and Majid magazine) and a number of other media related businesses including Imagenation Abu Dhabi that will develop, finance and produce full length feature films and digital content for Arabic and international markets; LIVE which owns a fleet of outdoor HD broadcast vans and a state of the art printing press, United Printing Press.

Abu Dhabi Media Company employs 2,098 people across its operating units which include publishing, television, radio, digital media, distribution, and printing.

The company is headquartered in Abu Dhabi with offices in Cairo, Dubai and Washington, D.C.

YouTube Blocks Music Vids in UK

The appropriate soundtrack for the latest music kerfuffle for YouTube (s GOOG) would be “The Sound of Silence,” that is, if they let you hear it. Because of stalled negotiations with the UK’s Performing Rights Society (PRS), YouTube has blocked thousands of music videos in that country.

YouTube posted the following statement on its blog yesterday:

Our previous license from PRS for Music has expired, and we’ve been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us. There are two obstacles in these negotiations: prohibitive licensing fees and lack of transparency.

The PRS issued its own response:

Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing.

The PRS also said that it did not ask YouTube to block the music videos, and that the action was done while the two were in the middle of negotiating.

If all this sounds familiar, it should. YouTube has had a rough go of it with music issues for the past few months. In December, YouTube got into a spat with Warner Music Group (s TWX) that resulted in music from that label being removed from the site. But not all negotiations for the video site have ended in lost content. YouTube reportedly reached an agreement with Sony (s SNE) earlier this year and just last week it was reported that YouTube and Universal Music Group (s GE) were working together on a standalone music site to be called “Vevo.”


DISH to Fork Over $104 Million to TiVo; with the Supreme Court not hearing its case, the satellite service announced that it will pay up over the patent dispute. (Ars Technica)

SNL Skit Yanked Over Legal Concerns; economic bailout sketch pulled because two people depicted in it were real and had the phrase “people who should be shot” overlayed on them. (The LA Times) (See our previous coverage on NewTeeVee Station.)

MLB Playoff Action Available Online…in Airports; boingo wireless customers can purchase passes to the “Airport Edition” of MLB.TV at 23 participating airports. (release)

Universal Music Puts Vids on Kiwibox; music videos will be distributed through the teen social network’s “KiwiboxTV” before the end of the year. (CNET)

Eisner on Hulu and MySpace; former Disney CEO says Hulu is not an end game, but more of a “middle game,” and says MySpace is squandering its video opportunity. (MediaWeek)

Comcast, KIT Digital Make Acquisitions; Comcast Media Center acquires asset delivery systems provider Radiance Technologies for $5 million. (Multichannel News) KIT Digital buys Czech digital media and IPTV company Visual Connection. (paidContent)

ActiveVideo Deployed in Hawaii; Time Warner’s Oceanic Cable gets interactive games, home shopping, news and more from the company. (Broadcasting & Cable)

GOOD and Saucony Partner for Video Series; Wild Frontier of Sports highlights sports such as dodgeball, urban golf and soapbox derby racing. (Imeem)