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What Vevo’s “Phase Out” Means for Artists


The intertwined fate of artists and tech titans has shaped today’s industry landscape. In June, Vevo shuttered its web and mobile platforms, shifting business models in pursuit of lean longevity. The ripples sparked by this “phase out” initiative directly affect artists considering alternative distribution methods for video.

January announcements led to June events when YouTube started consolidating native and Vevo accounts to kick off 2018. The merge combines, for instance, the SmallpoolsVEVO channel and Smallpools channel to create one Official Artist Channel. These merges are ongoing. Artists with at least three public music videos on either YouTube or Vevo are eligible for an integration. Importantly, subscriber counts remain intact, and, while some incongruencies persist, many Vevo videos automatically transferred to the Official accounts already. Your views and followers are safe.

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Both content from Smallpools’ main channel and VEVO channel have all been automatically migrated to their now ‘Official Artist Channel’

Five months later, YouTube and Vevo entered an agreement that let the former pitch the latter’s content to advertisers. In other words, Google’s enormous sales team, more than 10,000 strong, could directly offer premium pre-roll ad spots against the latest superstar video—an opportunity once reserved to Vevo alone. While artists and rights holders can no longer count on Vevo as a standalone destination for viewership, they might benefit from the surplus revenues generated by joint efforts between Vevo’s and Google’s respective teams.

For context, Vevo first emerged as UMG and Sony’s go-to platform for hosting artist videos, both friend and foe to YouTube. The service helped the majors secure above-average per-view payout rates, offering a robust catalog featuring hundreds of all-time classics and global chart-toppers. Today, Vevo’s site chiefly illustrates its marketing value to potential ad buyers—25,000,000,000 views per month is no joke. Vevo’s deal with YouTube, then, does not necessarily signal the impending end of a company that enjoyed 30 percent year-over-year revenue growth in 2017, but rather rights holders’ hopes to increase the value of their visual assets through focused, bolstered sales teams. Artists can still benefit from a Vevo video, even if that video now only lives on YouTube.

Some speculate that Vevo could strike a new deal with another tech partner. Facebook makes immediate sense as a distribution partner, given the social network’s aggressive efforts to accelerate both music and video consumption. Regardless, Vevo will likely continue to secure hundreds of millions in ad revenue each year, which means rights holders and artists will continue to enjoy a cut of the spoils. Vevo’s familiar lowercase logo—long associated with high-achieving artists—will remain in the bottom-right corner of your favorite videos. Perhaps the most crucial takeaways include the following.

  • Vevo will continue to control and curate who gains access to their platform.
  • Vevo will continue to operate its 1000-plus playlists, which exclusively feature Vevo content, on its YouTube channel
  • Vevo will enable its users to migrate their playlists to YouTube with a transfer tool
  • Vevo will continue to nurture and invest in artist discovery franchises, including dscvr, a regular content installment that highlights rising acts through interviews and recorded performances. Many of these acts are label signees, but there’s potential for more independent coverage as the company aims to expand the series’ reach

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If nothing else, Vevo’s ongoing changes (and YouTube’s, for that matter) emphasize that no tech platform enjoys a guaranteed future, nor a stagnant present. The best teams are those that anticipate such changes or stay nimble enough to promptly react once they occur, and the same applies to AWAL. We will continue to distribute material to Vevo when relevant (and, by default, YouTube) as we further develop our artist services and music distribution efforts.

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