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Vevo boss claims music video streaming services are better placed to pay artists well

The international boss of music video streaming service Vevo has said that music streaming players have an obligation to ensure both the artists and rights holders ensure they are paid well for their work.

In a video hangout with Mumbrella, Nic Jones, senior vice president of international at Vevo, acknowledged recent controversies in the sector around the payment of artists and rights holders, citing Taylor Swift’s decision to withdraw from Spotify in 2014.

“That’s been a very clear definition of Vevo wanting to work closely with the artists, the rights holders and the labels… so to that end we absolutely understand the responsibility we have to artists and to rights holders to get fairly paid,” said Jones.

Jones also made the argument that video players were better placed to pay performers and rights holders fairly.

“As a visual streaming platform we have a far better opportunity to go to brands and get them to pay to be around music,” he said.

“Touch wood we haven’t had any artists want to come off the Vevo platform, indeed Taylor Swift’s manager has talked about how the relationship she had with Vevo as being so much stronger than other platforms.”

“We see that as an absolute pillar of our business.”

The Vevo global boss also talked about the growth of video music streaming on the service, ahead of the Vevo Newfront presentation today, saying: “Right now if you take March this year globally we did 11.4bn video views – that’s billion with a b – that’s a 105 per cent increase year on year.

“This year we launched in Mexico, but internationally if you look at it we are digging deeper in the countries that we are in. We believe we are in the majority of countries we need to be in for the moment and we want to do better and better.”

Vevo’s Australian partner Authentic Entertainment was also part of the video hangout, with Jonathan Hopkins, strategy and marketing director for Authentic, predicting the local market of 18-20 music streaming players was likely to continue to contract.

“There are still a lot of competitors in the Australian marketplace,” said Hopkins. “As far as Vevo is concerned we have seen 67 per cent growth year on year in Australia and just launched in New Zealand and one of our big pushes is going to be around original content.

“We see original content as a way to really differentiate from the other players out there.”

For a timeline of the questions: 

  • 0.45 – Vevo’s global expansion 
  • 2.30 – Australia’s crowded music streaming market
  • 4.00 – Unique content as a selling point for music
  • 5.50 – The challenges of monetising content
  • 7.00 – The importance of sponsorship and partnerships
  • 8.30 – Music services need to pay talent fairly 

Nic Christensen in New York

Declaration: Authentic Entertainment is a sponsor of Mumbrella’s Newfront coverage.

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