This story was written by Rafat Ali.
Vevo, the Hulu-like site for music videos which for now is a JV between Universal Music, Sony Music and YouTube, is out raising money at a $300 million valuation, we have learned from multiple sources. The venture’s CEO Rio Caraeff has been criss crossing the country (and globe) pitching it to investors, though it is unclear if the venture will have the money locked in before the launch late this year. Also unclear: how much money it is trying to raise, though if Hulu is a guide, then one possibility is $30 million for 10 percent stake (Hulu raised $100 million from Providence, at a $1 billion valuation.
The JV, which is being run out of New York City (as its future HQ) and LA, has been hiring on the tech side over the last few months. It seems unlikely that the other two major labels—Warner and EMI—will join the venture as JV partners for now; Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman has publicly been talking against Vevo. EMI has been the slowest in any digital venture and lets others lead the way; besides, it is dealing with its own problems.
As to whether there’s enough there to justify the $300 million valuation for Vevo, foolish to bet against it this early, especially with a strong team and labels behind it. Besides, the inspiration for it, Hulu, certainly proved a lot of critics wrong. However, unlike Hulu, which proved that if you put up full-length videos and surround it with a simple and great experience, people—and advertisers—will come in droves, success for Vevo will mainly prove one thing: that music labels have finally succeeded in sucking the lifeblood out of music startups to feed their bastard child.
By Rafat Ali