Vevo Is The Music Industry's Secret Weapon

A musician currently gets around eight times less if their song is played on YouTube than they do if played on Spotify and, not surprisingly, are finally asking -'why?'.

Artists as such as Taylor Swift, Kate Perry, Billy Joel, Lionel Richie and Rod Stewart are petitioning for change (there goes my playlists...) and negotiations are onging between the industry and the Google video service.

Common wisdom has it that musicians need YouTube more than YouTube needs musicians, but is this actually true any more ?

A service owned by the music industry, Vevo, actually provides over half of the music video plays on YouTube and has other outlets such as its own apps for Smart TV and mobiles.

There's little doubt that other major online players from Apple to Facebook and even Twitter and the Verizon owned AOL are keen to break the YouTube monopoly.

As a result, Vevo is a very valuable property that might do best by staring a bidding war between these players, or setting a minimum royalty level for any service taking its videos, ostensibly becoming a clearing service and agent for the digital age. 

There is one factor complicating this, which is that YouTube hides behind DMCA legislation (which has recently been strengthened by judicial decisions) and can keep playing any music video until it receives a take down request, without sanction. Whilst YouTube was a hosting service, this was perhaps defensible, but today it is a content producer and broadcaster in its own right. But it has this safe harbour provision behind it in negotiating rates for musicians downwards. Spotify does not have this luxury, nor do traditional broadcasters.

Artists need to put their money where their mouths are and pull their copyright from YouTube to strengthen their case and then use Vevo as their trump card.