Music labels’ YouTube-powered music video site Vevo may have had a glitzy launch in New York on Tuesday – but on Wednesday many who hit the site for the first time found it crashing under traffic weight, and everyone outside the U.S. and Canada who hits Vevo.com is getting the same, spartan message they have for months: “We’re sorry, Vevo is not available in your country.”
Country-by-country difficulties for online music services are nothing new – the complexity of licensing tunes across nations, let alone across Europe’s 27 member states – is enough to test even a giant’s will to roll out, and delayed MySpace Music there by a year; Lala still doesn’t work overseas, Spotify is trying to get U.S. licenses.
But Vevo does aim to launch outside North America next year, the outfit tells paidContent:UK. “International launch, including the U.K., planned for 2010. Stay tuned,” a spokesperson said.
In the interim, there’s an uneasy kind of half-way house. A YouTube UK spokesperson says: “Vevo.com is only available in the U.S. and Canada. However, fans around the world can watch UMG, Sony (NYSE: SNE) Music and EMI content on Vevo-branded watch pages on YouTube wherever we have licenses to show this content.”
So Vevo sort of exists, but doesn’t quite? This could get messy…
Of the songs in the UK’s current top 10 chart, only one artist’s page, when I hit them from the UK, was showing the Vevo co-branding. In that instance, YouTube appears to have created a second artist profile – one for YouTube, another for Vevo (Lady Gaga has both “LadyGagaOfficial” and now “LadyGagaVEVO“). It’s the latter whose Vevo-branded YouTube player now shows the song’s video on both pages.
Embedding is allowed, though – while vids on YouTube.com show the Vevo watermark – embedded videos show the YouTube logo. There’s even some pre-roll advertising, U.S. inventory.
Vevo is a JV between UMG and Sony Music Entertainment (plus investor Abu Dhabi Music), is developed by YouTube and also has content from EMI and CBS (NYSE: CBS) Radio/Last.fm; no WMG yet. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is promising Vevo is a way labels can monetise their wares but, so far, there’s little indication of how beyond advertising.