Vevo's gathering more strength, even before its official launch. The music video site, described by Vevo execs as "like MTV on steroids" and by others as the Hulu of music videos--announced this morning a partnership with music label EMI. That means three of the four largest record companies are now supporting Vevo, a site scheduled to launch tomorrow and already billed as the music industry's hope for the future.
Backed by YouTube, Vevo is designed to offer fans a buffet of free, professional music videos without music execs having to hand over the controls--or a slice of the ad revenues--to third-party hosts. And as CD sales continue to slide and the profit margin on downloads remain slim, execs now see the money-making potential of music videos as something worth fighting for. Professional music clips account for 14 of the 25 most-viewed clips on YouTube already, and the labels behind Vevo have seen their combined music videos bring in 15 billion views on YouTube. But typical ad rates for Web video hovers around $3 to $8. By serving up premium content to a highly targeted demographic, Vevo execs are looking for ad rates of $25 to $40.
Will it work? With EMI (David Bowie, Coldplay, Norah Jones, et. al.) now at the table, its odds are certainly stronger. The three labels represent a combined 80% of contemporary music videos, which is a bludgeon big enough to force an audience. What music fans will soon see is whether those premium ad rates mean noisome placement, roll-overs, interruptions and the like. We can't think of a better way to kill the beat.