It looks like the ice is breaking between top online music video hosting service Vevo and Warner Music Group. Right behind several top video hosts Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and YouTube, Vevo — owned by Universal Music Group, Sony, Google, and others and well-known for hosting premium music videos from top artists like Taylor Swift and Pitbull, among others — is close to nearing a deal that will allow content from Warner Music Group to finally be accessible on Vevo.com.
For several years, Warner Music Group has held out on allowing music videos to be hosted on Vevo.com, choosing to partner in 2009 with then-Vevo rival MTV.
Rumored to have been in negotiations for about a year, with negotiation news first emerging in August 2015, the deal comes at a time when Vevo is announcing changes to its content strategy led by new CEO Erik Huggers, who took over a year ago from former CEO Rio Caraeff. In the past year, the higher-end video platform has ditched Flash video, replacing it with the very-well received and much more stable HTML5, and even boasted earlier this month 18 billion monthly global users, with over 50% mobile video viewership. Avid Vevo users will also have seen a fresh, new website redesign.
For Warner Music Group, this comes in a year when the company seems to be focusing its efforts in making more licensing deals, having partnered with Facebook with Slideshow, which lets users soundtrack photo albums and videos, and signing a deal with social video sharing app musical.ly to let its music be licensed for the platform.
The current deal seems to lock out major online video powerhouse YouTube from hosting or streaming WMG content. YouTube has received a fair amount of criticism this year for meager artist payouts as well as issues with the Content ID systems, with artists and major labels complaining that YouTube hosts copyrighted material.