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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Video hosting site Vevo has created a new seal of approval to reward music artists whose videos cross the 100 million views milestone and will kick off the program with YouTube star Justin Bieber.
Vevo expects its new 'Certified' program, unveiled on Wednesday with plans to launch on June 12, will become a popular measure of success like a Billboard chart position or the Recording Industry Association of America's designations of silver, gold or platinum record sales.
Currently only 32 music makers, led by Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, have been certified as passing the 100 million view milestone, Vevo said.
The certification tracks video view counts across digital platforms including YouTube, mobile and tablet devices and sites including Facebook, AOL and Yahoo! Music.
"It's a very notable achievement of success and dedication from the fans ... people are moving away from buying music and accessing it online, and we wanted to recognize the people connecting to music online," Fred Santarpia, general manager of Vevo, told Reuters.
Vevo will incorporate a small badge next to videos that hit the milestone, and a selected artist will be given a two-week spotlight on the site, featuring exclusive content for fans.
Interviews with artists, behind-the-scenes footage of making videos and an opportunity for fans to meet their idols and present them Vevo certificates in person, with video posted online, are examples of some of the exclusive features.
"The content is a 'thank you' to the fans ... Vevo has done a great job of providing inside access into the world of the artist, bringing fans in touch with their idol, and this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans," said Santarpia.
The 'Certified' program will kick off with Bieber, who rose to fame through YouTube after videos of him singing as a child were posted on the site and spotted by a music agent when he was in his early teens.
Now 18, Bieber commands a loyal online following with 22 million Twitter 'Beliebers' and 43 million Facebook fans. He has amassed more than 2.5 billion views on his Vevo channel, led by his single "Baby," which has 745 million hits alone.
"To have eight Vevo Certified videos means the world ... I always say the Internet is where I got my start. I posted videos and now to have it come full circle - and now I'm getting CERTIFIED - it's amazing," Bieber said in a statement.
Singers Perry, LMFAO and Selena Gomez will be 'Certified' throughout June and July, with all exclusive content viewable on vevo.com/certified and across Vevo digital platforms.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Lisa Shumaker