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New Vevo boss courting Warner Music

By | Published on Thursday 13 August 2015


There was a time when Warner Music could always be relied upon to be the last hold-out standing with most new digital services. They were happy days. Now Warner always seems to be first to jump into bed with any old digital start-up and mobile what-not. In fact, the whole company seems to be lacking in the kind of good old-fashioned belligerence that we expect from our record companies most major.

But Warner remains a hold-out on Vevo, something the recently appointed new top man at the video service is trying to rectify, according to reports. Former BBC digital man Erik Huggers joined Vevo back in May and, according to the New York Post, he has since been pitching hard to Warner Music overseer Stephen Cooper that its time the record company joined the party.

Vevo was set up, of course, by Universal Music and Sony Music – which remain significant shareholders in the venture – as a way of overhauling the way official music video content is distributed through YouTube, with Vevo selling the advertising and paying a royalty to the Google video platform rather than the other way round.

This gives the majors, and other labels signed up to Vevo, more control over their official content on YouTube, and the ad rates they charge around said content. Meanwhile Vevo has been busy building its brand beyond the YouTube ecosystem, pumping out pop promos and other music-related content via its own website and apps.

Warner Music has its own direct relationship with YouTube in relation to its official content on the Google video site, which is why it wasn’t so desperate to go in cahoots with its major label rivals when they were first creating Vevo.

But as the video site expands beyond the YouTube platform, Huggers will be hoping Warner might see the advantage of signing up to his service too. Though it cuts both ways. Within YouTube it doesn’t matter that Vevo lacks Warner content, because the mini-major’s videos are there right alongside its channels anyway. But as Vevo tries to grow audience for its own platforms, the lack of Warner-released hits becomes a problem.

Sources speaking to the Post say Huggers and Cooper are due to meet again next week, though it’s still early days and no firm deal is as yet on the table.