September 29, 2009

Warner Music Videos Coming Back To YouTube

Warner Music Group and YouTube are closing on a deal that will allow the video sharing site to feature music videos from well-known artists once again, according to sources.

The agreement would finally work out a licensing rights dispute that resulted in Warner Music pulling its artists' music videos from YouTube this past December.

Both Google Inc's YouTube and Warner, ranked as the third largest music company, would not disclose any details of the deal, which was first reported by AdAge on Monday.

Such a deal would put Warner Music's host of artists, including Madonna and Green Day, back on the scene of the world's most popular video sharing site.

EMI Music, Sony Corp's Sony Music Entertainment and Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group have now also renewed deals with YouTube.

While the financial details have not been laid out, Warner Music Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman has made it clear that he wishes to improve the terms of his previous deal with YouTube. He, like all executives in the industry, are feeling the effects that plummeting CD sales and stagnating digital music growth have had on the industry.

The deal would also give an opportunity for Warner to have a part in a new music video website called Vevo.

Vevo, which plans to begin operations late this year, will be hosted by YouTube and Google, with content being initially supported by Universal Music Group. YouTube will host Universal content on the satellite website, marking the first time that YouTube ventures off its main website. Some are expecting it to become the largest music oriented website on the Internet.

However, talks about Warner joining Vevo are currently in "early stages" and could fall through over various issues, one source said. Due to the sensitive nature of the discussions, the source requested anonymity.

Web videos are on the heels of radio and music television in becoming one of the most important music discovery tools for fans, according to Music industry insiders.

They believe that Vevo would create a more sophisticated way to experience music on the Web. It is being compared to Hulu, the extremely popular online TV service supported by NBC Universal, News Corp and Walt Disney Co.
General Electric owns 80 percent of NBC Universal, and the rest is owned by Vivendi.

Rio Caraeff, former digital chief of Universal Music, was made top executive of Vevo earlier this summer.

There have been talks with major advertisers and deals with at least four big brand names are expected to be ready in time for its launch later this year.


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