CNET is reporting today that Facebook is beginning to have preliminary talks about a possible future partnership with online music video channel/web site. For music fans who do not already know, Vevo is a music web site, and all around music media online network that was launched in December of 2009. It is an online platform that is considered by many to be the “Hulu of music.” This is because Hulu’s ownership partnership as a joint venture for online television content between Fox, Disney and NBC Universal is very similar to the foundation of Vevo. Vevo is an online distribution platform for content from 3 of the “Big Four” major label distributors in the world, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI. (Warner Music Group has an online partnership with MTV Networks)
Like Hulu, Vevo is a joint venture between major music distributors Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, as well as E1 Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Media. While content from the owner’s companies is obviously featured heavily, content from other major label contributors like EMI and Disney Music Group is licensed for use on Vevo. Vevo’s launch in December of 2009 was significant because it teamed up with Google and therefore the Google owned, YouTube to streamline and syndicate high quality music video content from a large majority of the music industry to the largest viewing community possible on various online platforms. In a matter of only a few years YouTube went from music industry threat to partner. The online network that was at one time sued for publishing illegal copies of music videos, is now the source for the majority of the industries videos. This was a huge plus because it is no surprise that a large majority of all videos online are now viewed on YouTube, therefore just out of user habit it would be natural to have official videos on YouTube.
However with one year left on Vevo’s agreement with Google, Facebook is interested in a similar arrangement to the one Vevo has now with Google’s YouTube. Sources told CNET that Facebook would stream Vevo’s music videos and the two companies would sell ads and share in the profits. But even with Facebook showing interest, music industry sources tell CNET’s Greg Sandoval not to count Google and YouTube out just yet. Music industry sources say that the YouTube partnership has been a lucrative one for the labels. In addition, negotiations for the licenses YouTube needs to allow users to put music from the top labels into their videos, are going well as well. Talks with Facebook are still new, and despite Facebook’s large social network community, Google and YouTube helped Vevo top Myspace as the number one online music source very quickly. Therefore if Facebook really wants to take Vevo from YouTube, it would need to keep in mind that a majority of its success comes from the technology of sharing the videos combined with the large numbers of a social network. If Facebook were to successfully sway Vevo, it would need to come prepared to back it up, especially when YouTube is already the number one video site in the world, and is the natural place for people to see short form video. Good luck Facebook.