Vevo, Warner Music Strike 'Milestone' Partnership

VEVO 2015
Neilson Barnard/WireImage for VEVO

The VEVO logo displayed at Gramercy Theatre in New York City. 

Vevo and Warner Music Group have confirmed a long-rumored partnership that will finally see premium video content from the major music company’s artists distributed across Vevo's internal platforms. 

The licensing deal, negotiated off and on for more than a year, has been declared a “milestone” which concludes Warner's long holdout against the video platform, owned by Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Abu Dhabi Media and Google. Warner Music was the last major label operating outside of Vevo. The agreement excludes YouTube, on which Vevo maintains accounts for artists signed to UMG and Sony, with Warner artists retaining their own YT channels. It also is not an equity deal, as Universal's and Sony's are, giving WMG flexibility in terms of releases.

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“Today marks an important milestone for Vevo as we forge a new relationship with Warner Music Group based on a shared vision of putting artists first and creating a platform that does justice to the music,” comments Vevo CEO Erik Huggers in a statement announcing the deal. “We’re excited to partner with Warner Music and bring their artists’ content to life through our new mobile and web experiences and across a range of our programming.” 

According to both parties, “select” WMG videos will begin to appear “imminently” across Vevo owned and controlled properties, including and its mobile app.
The news of negotiations between Vevo and Warner first emerged last August, and come after a year of redesigns and changes at the video service propelled by Huggers, who took over for Rio Caraeff -- the company's top exec since its December 2009 launch -- in April 2015. 

Divided into three distinct categories, Vevo last month announced a "reboot" that will impact three distinct areas: brand; creative content and programming; and product. The new features will include a redesigned Vevo logo and interfaces, new user profiles with social components and a personalized video player offering recommendation. Its ambitions weren't lost on Warner Music. 

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“Erik and his team continue to evolve their service and bring to life a new vision for Vevo,” comments Steve Cooper, CEO, Warner Music Group. “We're pleased to have built a flexible and mutually beneficial relationship that will bring additional creative and commercial possibilities to our artists and songwriters.” The partnership, he adds, “is the latest in a recent series of deals that are helping us explore ways to unlock the true value of music videos in attracting and engaging vast audiences."

In July 2016, Vevo claimed 18 billion monthly views, a number which should spike with the inclusion of Warner's video content. As previously reported, the new arrangement is not understood to involve equity (as Universal's and Sony Music’s are), which gives WMG some flexibility in terms of releases.