Vevo, the baby on the music block, has quickly become the No. 1 online music site, but if you're like most of America, you've never heard of it. In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Vevo's CEO Rio Caraeff explained why he's not too worried about that.
Since Vevo launched in 2009 with the backing of Sony Music, Universal and EMI, the company has grown to include more than 55 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S. and currently supports seven of the top 10 musicians' Facebook pages, including those of Rihanna, Katy Perry, Shakira and Michael Jackson. Vevo has doled out more than $100 million in royalties, is the No. 1 music video source on YouTube and has also joined forces with other top music websites, such as AOL Music, Yahoo Music and, now, MTV. Odds are if you're streaming music online, you're getting it from Vevo.
Vevo was launched in 2009, what inspired the concept? We started the company when I was at Universal Music Group. I think, fundamentally, we wanted to figure how we could build a business looking at the passion of everyone on the planet who loves music. Your customer is everyone who loves music, and not everyone who buys it. So we wanted to figure out a way on a worldwide scale to provide the highest quality experience to as many people as possible that would be compatible with what we call the physics of the web.
When you launched you had the backing of three to four major groups: Sony, Universal and EMI. Warner Music Group was missing. Are you in talks to bring it in still? Do you see it as being a part of Vevo in the future? I do. We're in talks with Warner Music group constantly. We hope to have them as a partner soon.
Vevo is growing shockingly fast. It is seen by more people than MTV, Yahoo Music or AOL music but still millions of Americans don't even know what it is. Why do you think that is, and do you think that will change? I think that you're exactly right. Our focus has always been to build a consumer-facing entertainment brand but not at the expense of the artists or our partners. So what that means is we are a brand service on our own. We have 13 million to 14 million people using our mobile app. We're the largest channel and the largest content provider across YouTube. We also syndicate and distribute our videos in many other places. We have a concerted effort under way to have Vevo stand for high quality official music in as many places as possible. But we don't think our brand is more important than the artists' brand, and we don't think our brand is more important than the distributors' brand.