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The Morning After: Vevo Falls Flat
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By: Spacelab Research Staff

There may have been a big launch party for the online music video site Vevo last week, but now the champagne has worn off, the party is over, and we're stuck with Vevo.

Vevo is a joint venture between YouTube, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, AT&T, CBS Interactive Music Group and Abu Dhabi Media Company.

After giving the site a run, it looks mostly like a good idea and bad implementation. They've got some of the prerequisite items for a good experience: channels to line up the music, playlists, and a nice set of playback controls. It's easy to navigate and some of the videos look beautiful.

But the whole thing is kind of underwhelming. For every pristine quality video, there seems to be a fuzzy one. Playback stutters a lot, the death knell of an online video experience. The video selection is more mainstream than mainstream, and appears to have the top of the heap for the most popular and best-selling artists, and not much more. After all of the time they spent building the site, I thought they would have added more titles for the kick off.

What seemed more strange was the way the industry responded to Vevo at the launch party. Everybody was loving Vevo as the next big thing, but they actually seemed to be hoping for anything to come along and restore the music industry to its former glory. I'm not sure that's going to happen with Vevo.

It's only natural that Vevo's high profile launch would give them some hope.  It looks promising for music fans, but it's hard to see it as the kind of money catalyst the industry is hoping for.

Strangely enough, with 2010 upon us, the music industry is still stuck in the last century. As a whole, they didn't work collectively to create their own site to watch videos. Instead, they fought about royalties and who owned what and who would control distribution. Google and YouTube had to act as an outside third party to force change on an industry that didn't want to change.

When it came to selling music online, the major labels did the same thing, going off to their own corners to come up with a solution that worked only for each individual company, not the industry as a whole. Most of these ventures died or went flat, before iTunes rescued the labels. Apple came in and created something that could house all of these groups in one, unified experience. Change came from outside of the music industry.

So it is with Vevo. Google came along with YouTube and created a house for music video that all of the warring tribes of the music industry could not do on their own. But Vevo has a lot of work to do.


Tags: Vevo

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