"It will help differentiate us from YouTube, create more engagement with our users and help us expand over the top." That's how Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff summarized Vevo TV, a new multiplatform programming initiative announced at South by Southwest on March 12, now available on the Web, Apple iOS, Android, Windows phones, Xbox and Roku. The initiative is a 24-hour linear live music and entertainment channel that will feature a continuous programming schedule of music videos, live events and original programming including CBS' "Live on Letterman," American Express' "Unstaged" and Vevo's own "Music Is My Sport." State Farm, McDonald's, Adidas Originals and Red Bull are the launch sponsors. It's the ad model in particular that will help Vevo better monetize its music videos and related content, as ads will follow Vevo TV across all its platform via 30-second "mid-roll" ads that will appear after every three videos, through Vevo's partnership with ad-tech company Freewheel. "Each hour is a new block of programming, and allows for sponsored programming blocks," Vevo senior VP of product and technology Michael Cerda added.
Madison Square Garden Co. announced March 12 the sale of all of its approximately 3.9 million shares of Live Nation Entertainment stock, valued at approximately $44 million. The move isn't unexpected, following the Feb. 22 resignation of James Dolan, executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Co. and president/CEO of MSG owner Cablevision, from the Live Nation board of directors. "The relationship was always with Irving [Azoff]," a source told Billboard.biz at the time, "not the people at Live Nation." Both Live Nation and MSG reps declined to comment. Meanwhile, Live Nation is now trading at a 52-week high in the wake of what Wall Street apparently felt was a promising fourth-quarter earnings report in which revenue increased by 8% and adjusted operating income by 4.8%.
Spotify founder Daniel Ek says that the service now has 6 million subscribers worldwide, with a million of those signing on in the past three months. Ek says Spotify succeeded not by being the first company to attempt a streaming and subscription model, but by coming up with the easiest and most convenient solution while also working out deals with the labels. He notes that because of Napster, the digital music industry was the first in history where the illegal model was better than the legal one. Despite his current fruitful relationship with record labels, Ek calls some parts of the music industry "antiquated" and suggests that they have to evolve. "Licensing music territory by territory is not at all how it should work," he says. "If I license a song, that license should be valid all around the world."