Vevo had some big news on Friday with the launch of a new mobile website, making its catalogue of 50,000 music videos watchable through smartphone and tablet browsers rather than its native apps. It’ll be particularly useful for Vevo video links posted on Twitter and Facebook, since mobile users will be able to watch them from within those social apps.
Impressive stuff, but the news was overshadowed by something more speculative: a report in the Wall Street Journal that Vevo is looking for a new $100m-$150m funding round that could value the company at nearly $1bn. The report also cites one source as claiming Vevo’s revenues could rise from $150m in 2011 to $280m in 2012.
The report fuels interest around Vevo’s ultimate exit strategy: an IPO or an acquisition? If the WSJ is to be believed, investment bank Allen & Co. has contacted Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon and Yahoo on Vevo’s behalf about the new funding round – note, no traditional venture capital firms in that list.
The IPO-or-acquisition question isn’t just for Vevo, of course: it applies equally to Spotify. They’re the two digital music platforms outside iTunes/YouTube that currently have a.) genuine traction and scale and b.) major-label stakeholders, albeit with minority stakes in Spotify’s case. Even so, those stakeholders have some thorny decisions ahead.