MUSEXPO Europe: Vevo's Nic Jones on Warner, YouTube and video premieres

MUSEXPO Europe: Vevo's Nic Jones on Warner, YouTube and video premieres

Vevo's Nic Jones talked Warner, video premieres and YouTube in a keynote interview during the first day of MUSEXPO Europe.

Warner Music Group and Vevo announced a new licensing agreement last month, in which videos from Warner artists will be distributed on Vevo-owned and controlled properties, including the Vevo mobile app and Vevo.com.

Speaking to Music Week editor Mark Sutherland, Jones said: "We'd been talking to them for five years about wanting to work with them. Maybe we are in a sort of perfect storm where they can see the value of working with Vevo now.

"I certainly think when the EMI purchase by Universal went through, and Warners got Parlophone, they saw how well we'd done for some of those Parlophone artists. Thankfully, there were a number of Parlophone artists who said they wanted to remain working with Vevo because they'd had such a good experience with us, so I think that would've helped. There was no doubt that once [Warner CEO] Steve Cooper had gone there and the relationship between him and Erik Huggers, my boss, I think has really driven that to the point where they really understood just how much we wanted to work with them."

Jones, Vevo's chief revenue officer, said music videos had moved beyond merely being a promotional vehicle for an album or tour, to become "the work of art". "We've worked closely with One Direction over the last five years and when you see just how passionate their fans are, then you understand how important video is as a connection to those fans because clearly the vast majority of them are never going to meet any of their heroes. So this is the point they feel they can get the closest to them," he said. 

"There was a Taylor Swift [video] premiere around about October last year, that would have been the No.1 TV programme that week, on the same measurement that they use for TV in America."

He added: "Adele launched her comeback at the end of last year. We were given something like 24 hours' notice that the video was going to be there and it had to launch at 8am that Friday and 24 hours later it's done 24 million video views. Right now, it's at 1.2 billion, so that's a sign of a piece of content which so grabs the world's population that everybody felt like they had to watch it.

"So you've got One Direction, which is fewer people watching it lots of times, then you've got something like Adele where everybody wants to watch, but they've probably only watched it once, maybe twice."

On Vevo's relationship with YouTube, Jones said: "They are an enormously important partner to us but clearly, they're also a major competitor of ours as well. They have I think, at the last count, 17,500 sales people globally,  I have globally a sales team of about 100, that's a somewhat imbalanced see-saw. The reality is that we work really well with them on so many levels, but we still compete.

"You get the sense that it's an interesting relationship but that's not to devalue the importance of the distribution they give us and the importance of the stuff that we can work with them as well, albeit there'll be times certainly when we'll compete for ad dollars, no question about that."

Jones remained cagey on plans for Vevo's new subscription service"It's still coming, we'll launch it when it's ready," he said. "This is a very important step both, we believe, for the industry, but also for us and we want to get it right. There is undoubtedly a way to present a certain type of content in a way that people are prepared to pay for, and that's what we've got to hit."

Prior to the keynote, there was a Nordic Spotlight Session featuring panellists including Patrik Larsson, A&R and label manager for Playground Music Scandinavia, Anna Hildur Hildibrandsdottir of Nordic Music Export and Cosmos Music CEO Robert Litsen. 

The first day of MUSEXPO Europe concluded with the Global Manager's Futurecast session, which brought together JEM Music founder Colin Lester, Disturbing London founder and MD Dumi Oburota, Cato Music founder Glen Rowe, ROAR Group chairman Professor Jonathan Shalit OBE and artist manager Sammy Andrews. 

VIDEOS
Music Week Radar, 6th October 2016

Nova Twins – Hitlist. Filmed at Music Week Radar, Under the Bridge

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