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Vevo — the forthcoming site for YouTube videos featuring professional musicians — is getting a new president, according to MediaMemo and CNET. It’s Rio Caraeff, the current vice president of Elabs, Universal’s digital business unit.
Vevo is supposed to be a palatable site for advertisers, separate from the riff-raff of YouTube’s user-generated content. Right now, only Universal is on board, but other labels are apparently in negotiations to join. What’s not clear how much money might be made from the site.
Caraeff, at least, has shown himself to be open to experimentation, which is frankly the only way forward for the industry. CD sales are never coming back, and more stable revenue streams, like song downloads, aren’t booming. Here’s more on how Caraeff is thinking, from a notably positive article in TechDirt (a publication that regularly rips on the music industry for its anti-innovation licensing practices, among other things).
Caraeff, however, seems focused on all the right things. He talked about how access to music is more important than possession. He talks about how it’s the experience that has always made music valuable, noting “you can’t steal experience.” In fact, he points out that the concept of the album is dead, but that UMG (and others) need to build a true “living album” that goes beyond the music: adding a full experience that can update over time, that allows fans to access the music however they want, and that enables interaction with that music — including fan participation and user-generated content associated with the music. And he wants it all built on open standards, to avoid a situation like the Blu-ray consortium where only a few companies have control of the system. “How do we compete with piracy? It’s creating a unique experience that can’t be easily replicated through file sharing.”
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