The time is nearing when music videos service Vevo has to decide whether to renew its distribution deal with YouTube, or hook up with another partner – Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have all been publicly floated as possibles. The negotiations are taking place in public, it seems, with Sony Music’s Doug Morris giving the Los Angeles Times a piece of his mind earlier this week.
“Google is charging us a lot of money to put our videos on their platform, and we would like them to reduce their fees. If not, there are at least three other companies who want to take our videos,” said Morris. “YouTube has been good partners. They’re just extracting too much money for the enterprise to work properly. The videos are expensive to produce. And there are many mouths to feed on our end. You have to pay the artist, the record companies, the publishers.”
Good, hardball negotiations, right? “If Justin Bieber and Adele are somewhere else, that will be where people will go…” And perhaps one of those other tech giants will put up an attractive enough deal to satisfy Morris’ desires. However, this risks being seen as just the latest example of a major music rightsholder looking at a promising digital music service building scale and revenues, and deciding that’s the ideal time to squeeze more margin out of a partner.