VEVO Reveal True Cost Of Legal Music Royalties

Music video website (and popular YouTube music video brand) VEVO have revealed the cost of their involvement in showing the latest hits in a legal manner, revealing that they have paid over $200 million to ‘artists and labels’ through royalties since starting the joint venture site in 2009.

The video-streaming site, co-owned by Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Abu Dhabi Media, is responsible for broadcasting the official videos of new songs published by Sony, Universal, and EMI, and presumably only pay the latter (who licence their songs to Vevo) any significant label payments.

The high costs over the past 3 years are naturally stemming from it being one of the most popular sources of music videos online with significant advertising income on their clips, but note that in 2012 they have paid to stars and labels than in 2010 & 2011 combined.

Speaking at the Business Insider: IGNITION Conference in New York City (USA), Vevo’s CEO Rio Caraeff said of the site and its advertising policies: “The audience 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.”

The service, available through a range of platforms including their own browser site, YouTube, Facebook, Xbox 360,, and a range of portable device apps, count YouTube viewing figures as their total view count, led by their highest-rated official video “Baby” (by Justin Bieber) on 806 million total views, but still publish an overall YouTube ranking for music videos as a whole, a list currently led by viral sensation (and now the all-time most popular YouTube video) “Gangnam Style” (Psy) on over 845m hits.

For videos that are promoted through the popular Vevo brand, though, the royalty cost statistics serve as an example as to just why many pirate websites look to lay low and avoid such issues, especially when the ‘free trial’ argument can be considered, but with current rates seemingly climbing, will VEVO be left to pay its featured talent even higher amounts over the next few years?

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