Music labels bet next MTV

Tue Dec 8, 2009 6:13pm EST
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a grainy black and white Web video, similar to footage from an in-store security camera, you can make out the muscular frame of rapper 50 Cent, smashing dozens of TV sets with a baseball bat.

None too subtle in its message, the clip is part of a advertising blitz by Vivendi's Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, two music giants hoping that their new website,, will finally put to rest any idea that TV is a place for top flight videos.

Launched on Tuesday, Vevo offers music from both Universal and Sony, as well as EMI Music, and contains programing from CBS radio stations and, both owned by CBS Corp.. In all about 30,000 videos are available.

The idea is to create an MTV for the digital age, a music site where all the latest and archived videos can be found. It's a business model similar to that of Hulu, the popular TV and movie site.

Vevo's debut comes as music companies are losing revenue and profits at a rapid tick due to the combined impact of falling sales of CDs, online piracy and evolving methods fans discover new music.

Moreover, MTV Networks, owned by Viacom Inc, is no longer considered a major outlet for playing music videos, and while Google Inc's YouTube has been an important music discovery tool for the record companies, it has failed to attract premium advertising dollars.

But Vevo has landed just the sort of blue-chip brands that have shied away from YouTube and its the random user-generated clips. That's largely because of the high production value of the videos, and the top flight artists they feature.

Indeed, Vevo launched with the support of nearly 20 new advertising partnerships, including names like Colgate-Palmolive Co., MasterCard Inc., McDonald's Corp, and AT&T Inc..   Continued...