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Vevo rolls out Facebook app for bands

September 22, 2011|By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times

Vevo, an online music video start-up, is pressing play on its latest product — a Facebook app that lets bands and musicians showcase their music, sell albums and merchandise, live stream concerts and collect mail addresses from their fans, among other things.

The New York company, jointly owned by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, is the latest player to dive into the crowded do-it-yourself market for apps and services for musicians.

Digital start-ups such as ReverbNation, RootMusic, Bandcamp, Topspin and Songkick, as well as established giants such as Live Nation Entertainment, are rushing to be the online broker between bands and fans on Facebook and other digital platforms. This relationship is increasingly important as digital tools give bands the ability to distribute their own music, directly communicate with their audience and build personalized marketing campaigns.

On Facebook, RootMusic and ReverbNation are the top two music applications, according to AppData.com, a site that tracks applications.

Vevo plans to set itself apart from rivals by giving musicians the ability to present all their music videos on Facebook within a single window — leading to more clicks and, hopefully, deeper engagement with fans, said Vevo's general manager, Fred Santarpia.

"The key differentiator between Vevo and others is that Vevo carries the official music videos," Santarpia said. "None of the others can offer that as part of their product suite. When those artists are premiering a new music video, they can do that with Vevo."

Vevo was the second-largest purveyor of online videos after YouTube as of July, serving up 3.2 billion video views a month worldwide, according to the most recent report from research firm ComScore. In the U.S., Vevo hosted 67.7 million unique visitors in July, up from 48 million a year ago, making it the top music site.

Vevo, which makes money from the ads that play before and during the videos as well as from ads displayed around the video window, is giving away its Facebook app to musicians.

The company splits its advertising revenue with labels, artists and other rights holders. Santarpia estimated that his company, which launched in December 2009, will have distributed more than $100 million to licensors by the end of this year.

The app's debut comes a day before Facebook Inc. is expected to announce a major overhaul of the way its 750 million users experience music, news and videos on the social network, with the aim of making it easier for media and entertainment companies such as Vevo to customize their apps, as well as for users to consume and share media.

alex.pham@latimes.com

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