Vevo: We've Paid Artists $200 Million Since 2009
Vevo: We've Paid Artists $200 Million Since 2009

Vevo announced Tuesday at the Business Inside: Ignition Conference in New York City that the company has paid back $200 million in revenue back to the music industry since being founded in 2009, a figure it touted as higher than any other music-video service.

"The audiences that loves music should be treated and valued the same way as the audience that loves the Super Bowl, and revenue should flow as such," Vevo president/CEO Rio Caraeff said at the conference.

Billboard Power 100: Rio Caraeff

Caraeff also noted that Vevo would pay more royalty revenues in 2012 than its first two years as a company combined -- or $100 million, as he told Billboard earlier this year, with over $150 million in revenue in its second year in business.

Through a spokesman, Vevo declined further comment on the figures.

As artists and industry execs alike continue to criticize services like Spotify and Pandora for their royalty payments, the sums given back to artists on the short end of the very long tail of the Vevo spectrum appear to be significant at first. Pandora, for example, recently outlined in a blog post penned by founder Tim Westergren that more than 2,000 Pandora artists would receive payouts of $10,000 more over the next 12 months, with more than 800 receiving upwards of $50,000.

But as Billboard pointed out in a Business Matters post, many of those payments don't go directly to artists once they're distributed by SoundExchange, the organization that collects digital performance royalties on behalf of sound recording owners and performing artists.

So an artist like Drake, whom Pandora claimed would receive performance royalties of nearly $3 million a year, would only actually receive $1,278,450 as the performing artist, since SoundExchange distributes 45% of net royalties to the performing artist of the sound recording. The label would get $1,562,550, as the owner of the recordings, and other musicians would receive $142,050, or 5%.