Music videos service Vevo is losing its boss, with president and chief executive Rio Caraeff confirming today that he’ll leave the company at the end of 2014. It’s no surprise, since the news leaked out over the weekend.
But the press release announcing his departure includes an interesting statistic which, as far as we know, is brand new: “Delivering nearly 100 billion streams across its distribution platform annually, Vevo has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, growing its business at a rate of over 50% year-over-year since 2010. It also has invested more than half a billion dollars in music video programming through royalties paid to rights owners, artists and songwriters.”
(Our bold emphasis there.)
That’s up from $200m paid out to rightsholders by November 2012, which we think is the last time Vevo has publicly talked payout stats in this way, having previously said it had paid out more than $100m by December 2011.
Vevo joins Spotify (more than $2bn paid out to music rightsholders since 2008) and YouTube (more than $1bn since 2007) in publishing its payouts-to-date number – $3.5bn between the three of them so far. Big numbers, although industry body the IFPI’s stats for 2013, when recorded music sales were $5.9bn for that year alone, puts their growth into perspective.
According to Vevo’s public stats, its users watched 55bn music videos globally in 2013, up from 41bn in 2012. By the end of 2013, Vevo was attracting 243m unique monthly viewers worldwide, with the service averaging 165m daily video views between July and December, up 40% on the corresponding period in 2012. Nearly 17bn of Vevo’s video views came from smartphones, tablets and connected TVs in 2013, which was just over 30% of the total.
Caraeff is now leaving the next chapter of Vevo’s growth to someone else, with current chief financial officer Alan Price stepping into an interim CEO role at the start of January, while Vevo’s board of directors seeks a permanent replacement.
It could be a fun search, given the many cooks involved in this particular company: Vevo’s owners include two major labels – Sony and Universal – Google and Abu Dhabi Media Company. Caraeff’s departure comes at a sensitive point for Vevo, as it faces new competition from Google’s new YouTube Music Key on one side, and native video on Facebook on the other.
“We are both encouraged by Vevo’s current performance and excited about its potential to become a massive platform for music entertainment,” said a joint statement from the ownership group this afternoon.
Picking the right CEO to replace Caraeff will be key to delivering on that potential. In an email to staff this weekend, Caraeff referred openly to the difficulties Vevo has faced getting to this point.
“From going to battle fearlessly in some very tough negotiations behind the scenes, to making sure that rights owners, artists and songwriters get paid to assuring that we have a roof over our heads and cash in the bank, you guys and gals work tirelessly to make sure that it all comes together,” he wrote, in a section addressing the company’s business teams.
“Looking back, we were able to successfully convince the entire industry to evolve and change the way that it had historically operated and to think about its customer differently… We have won many battles and have lived to fight another day. Although there are many more to fight and much work to be done I know that you are all up for the task.”