Peter Kafka

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Sony Joins Vevo, Universal’s “Hulu For Music Videos”

Vevo, the “Hulu For Music Videos” site that Universal Music is launching with YouTube, just got a little more Hulu-like: Sony (SNE) has signed on.

I’m told that Sony will contribute cash and its library of music videos and will become an equity partner in the site, which until now has been wholly owned unit of UMG. Sony had already signed a deal with Google (GOOG) earlier this year to keep its music on YouTube, so I’m not sure what that means.

The release below makes a reference to Vevo/UMG “exploring additional strategic participation by third-party investors…as equity partners.” While that could additional music labels like Warner Music Group (WMG) or EMI, I’m told that the line is alluding to interest from brand advertisers. Not sure how that would work, or why Universal would want to announce it in a press release before they’ve got a deal, but we’ll see.

Universal digital boss Rio Caraeff is set to become Vevo’s CEO later this year.

VEVO AND SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

JOIN FORCES FOR WORLD-CLASS

PREMIUM ONLINE MUSIC VIDEO SERVICE

Sony Music Entertainment (SME) Joins Universal Music Group (UMG) to Make

Professionally-Created Content Available from Broad Array of Musical Artists

New York, New York, Thursday, June 4, 2009…Sony Music Entertainment (SME) has joined Universal Music Group (UMG) to create VEVO, the new premium music video and entertainment service conceived by UMG and powered by YouTube. The announcement was made today by Doug Morris, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of UMG, and Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, Chief Executive Officer of SME. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Music fans will be able to view professionally-created content from UMG’s and SME’s broad array of chart-topping artists through VEVO, the innovative online premium music video hub being built for consumers, advertisers and content owners that will blend the very best in top-notch music content with YouTube’s leading edge video technology and user community. The content will be made available on YouTube through a newly created VEVO channel, on VEVO.com, the service’s marquee destination site, and through a special VEVO branded embedded player. The service will also serve as a syndication platform for additional internet destination sites, expanding the reach of the VEVO brand across the worldwide web. In addition to the participation of SME and UMG, VEVO is exploring additional strategic participation by third-party investors to join this innovative entertainment platform as equity partners.

“We are delighted that SME has joined us in this exciting new service that will further transform premium music content into a legitimate commercial enterprise that benefits fans, artists and advertisers,” stated Mr. Morris. “VEVO will harness the power of the enormous traffic generated by YouTube and direct it to a dynamic destination created specifically for consumers and advertisers alike.”

“We are excited to be participating in VEVO with Universal Music Group. SME is committed to delivering the best possible music experiences to consumers and with VEVO, we share a common vision of offering music videos and other premium video content from some of the world’s greatest artists in an attractive, clean and intuitive environment that appeals to fans and advertisers alike. We look forward to working with VEVO to develop a first-class destination that will attract a massive online audience from day one, boast some of the most desirable demographics on the Web and develop new and innovative ways to monetize music video,” commented Mr. Schmidt-Holtz.


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