Before I formally direct you all to check out VEVO.com, let me ask a question.
Anyone remember PluggedIn.com? Big online music video initiative pushed by UMG with content from all the major labels except WMG? High quality videos. Big investors, big money. Anyone? It was launched in 2008. I even wrote about it here.
Don't bother googling too much: PluggedIn.com is, alas, now an entertainment portal owned and operated by James Dobson's Christianist group Focus On The Family that seeks to warn parents about objectionable content (this just in: Adam Lambert is gay).
Point being: The new UMG online initiaive VEVO.com reminds me a whole lot of PluggedIn.com. VEVO.com is launching with content from all labels except WMG. It also boasts high quality versions of all videos. It's the differences, however, that may help VEVO.com avoid being PluggedIn 2.0.
VEVO has a much bigger partner — PluggedIn.com relied on Move Technology — with Google/YouTube officially on-board as a business partner, providing the infrastructure and split the advertising revenue generated by the content.
There's also a lot more A-List names involved: VEVO's launch party boasted appearances by Mariah Carey, Adam Lambert, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Bono, who called it "the the birth of a new model for our industry."
That starpower spills over to VEVO.com as well, with the site launching today with exclusive premiere videos from Mariah, 50 Cent, Timbaland featuring Drake and other top-line artists. Compelling exclusive content with big artists should guarantee eyeballs, especially if VEVO and all their partners (YouTube, UMG, etc) can flex their legal might to keep it from spilling over to other sites.
In terms of technology and design, things seem pretty clean, if not a bit no-frills. The biggest web 2.0 feature other than comments is the ability to construct playlists, something that could come in handy for those who have long been envisioning a veritable video jukebox that could be programmed for parties or whatnot. Cool.
Money? Video advertising is being bandied about as the big growth market online. Music Videos and music-related content are about as good and popular as you get with online content (except for porn and skateboarding dog, of course). VEVO has already lined up many primo advertising accounts at what sound like premium rates.
Is all that enough to get people to visit the site and watch videos there as opposed to all the other sites our there, not to mention the other start-ups that have all promised to reinvent the web? And will that influx of ad money be enough to make the music business to move away from the traditional sales model?
Maybe. For me, it's just nice to see music videos heralded as a potential bright spot in the music landscape and not as an overlooked bastard child.
So, with all that in mind, go check out VEVO.com.
PS: VEVO seems to be dealing with the usual launch-day bugs and traffic overload. Be patient. Otherwise, I would scour the site so I could see if I could embed The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" or something equally snarky.