Will YouTube’s mobile app users be able to watch music videos offline when that feature launches in November? In many cases, no.
“We’re not going to allow viewing of our music videos or other programming in offline mode,” a Vevo spokesperson told Variety on Friday, confirming our suspicions that music rightsholders wouldn’t be supporting the new feature – at launch, at least.
That’ll be a significant hole, given that Vevo claimed 526m unique monthly viewers in June this year, and 4bn video streams worldwide. In Vevo’s recent metrics report, it said that its apps had been downloaded 28m times so far, and that they accounted for 30% of overall views in June, and 50% in the US.
Mobile is already hugely important for Vevo as a business, so its strategy regarding YouTube’s upcoming offline feature must be seen against that context.
As Variety notes, it’s quite possible Vevo’s licences with music rightsholders block it from making videos available for offline viewing, even if it wanted to. With Google now owning a 7% stake in Vevo, there may well be a move to renegotiate those licensing terms. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in those talks…
But for the majority of YouTube users, who are blissfully unaware of the ins and outs of music licensing, the offline absence of music videos may be frustrating.
On a more positive front, Google appears to be testing a new feature in its search engine when people search for an artist and song. A screenshot posted by blog Google Operating System shows a massive Vevo video thumbnail returned for a search for ‘Nikki Williams – Glowing’, spanning the entire width of the search-results section of the page.
A good thing, given the ongoing row over whether Google should do more to support legal music services in its search results. Although such placement for Vevo – due to that 7% stake and the fact that Vevo uses YouTube for distribution – may be controversial in other ways.