In the next few days, content from Vevo will disappear from YouTube’s API, putting an end to third parties using it to serve videos without the company’s permission, according to sources. By doing so, Vevo will put an end to companies co-opting its videos and serving them without ads and in international markets where the site doesn’t operate.
Vevo, a joint venture between Universal Music Group and Sony Music that was designed to better monetize music videos that appeared online, has its videos hosted and delivered videos by YouTube. And while the companies built Vevo.com as a destination site, its videos are also located on YouTube — and until now, they’ve been available through YouTube’s API.
Videos that come from the API are stripped of the Vevo watermark and have a YouTube watermark instead. Those videos are also stripped of any pre-roll or overlay advertising, and are available internationally. The inclusion of Vevo assets in the YouTube API has allowed some third parties to reuse those music videos and to put up display advertising next to them, without licensing the content.
One of those third parties was Muziic, which made a lot of noise this week as its 16-year old founder — David Nelson of Bettendorf, Iowa — began talking up his web site as a way to watch and create playlists out of Vevo music videos — and to do so without watching “obtrusive” ads. Nelson also said Muziic would be available in markets outside of North America, which is the only market that Vevo currently operates in.
Apparently that didn’t sit too well with Vevo, which said in official statement, “VEVO does not authorize, condone or otherwise endorse, in any way whatsoever, the actions of Muziic which involve our licensed music videos or registered trademarks.” And all the commotion over the site may have led the online music site to keep its content from being part of the YouTube API.
CNET reports that Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff wrote to Muziic’s Nelson, “You can be assured that changes are being deployed to the API in question immediately,” but didn’t go into detail about how those changes would be implemented.
Since then, Muziic’s service has been altered to play just music from YouTube content, without accompanying videos. Gone also is the ‘Vevo’ tab from the site, which enabled users to find music videos specifically from that service. Nelson says Muziic made changes to the site in preparation for changes that would be coming in the YouTube API. “Rather than make our customers experience sporadic unavailability for Vevo content, we’ve removed the videos from the site,” he wrote in an email to NewTeeVee.
Muziic may have made pre-emptive changes to its own service, but if Vevo pulls its videos from the API, it could affect a number of other sites, like Blip.fm, Songza, Tuberadio.fm, which rely on the YouTube API for services built around music videos. It’s not clear what content will still be available to those services, or if they could strike alternate deals with Vevo to have access to its music videos.