Just a month after UMG and VEVO pulled their video content from MTV’s website over a licensing dispute, the grandfather of Music Television’s website outstripped upstart VEVO as the highest trafficked music site online.
In an article on Mashable.com, Jolie O’Dell said: “According to data just released from comScore, MTV had more than 53 million unique visitors last month, while Vevo’s uniques totaled 49 million. The third-place site, MySpace Music, wasn’t even close to competing with just 26 million uniques in August.”
An earlier article on Mashable by Christina Warren explains the scope of the content affected by the licensing dispute, saying:
When (a licensing) agreement couldn’t be reached, UMG responded by pulling its content. Although this decision affects all MTV Networks websites — including those for VH1 and CMT — the cable channels themselves are not affected.
This announcement comes just days after MTV signed a special agreement with Warner Music Group — the only major label not a Vevo partner — to feature its artists across online and cable network properties in exchange for better licensing rates.
Billboard featured statements from MTV and UMG in response to the breakdown in negotiations that led to the pulled content:
MTV issued the following statement when contacted by Billboard:
“For almost 30 years, we have enjoyed long and colorful partnerships with all the music labels, including UMG and their talented roster of artists on MTV, VH1 and CMT. As the industry evolves, we continue to seek out new and innovative ways to connect artists with their fans that are mutually beneficial to everyone. However, during our recent discussions with Vevo, we were unable to reach a fair and equitable agreement for rights to stream UMG artists’ music video content. As a result, UMG has elected to pull their music videos from our web sites. We are disappointed by this move and sincerely hope that UMG will work with us toward a fair resolution and allow their artists to once again connect with the millions of music fans who visit MTV.com, VH1.com and CMT.com every month.”
A UMG statement on the matter reads:
“MTVN has been unwilling to negotiate a fair syndication deal with Vevo to carry our artists’ videos and consequently our videos will not be shown on their online properties. We believe that using Vevo as our online music video syndication platform is the best way to maximize revenue for our artists, our songwriters and ourselves, while bringing our videos to the widest possible audience. In less than 8 months since its launch, Vevo has already become the web’s #1 rated video network with over 49 million unique visitors monthly, dramatically eclipsing those on MTV’s online properties, while attracting scores of major advertisers and tens of millions in advertising dollars. As a result, our artists are enjoying tremendous exposure on Vevo on YouTube and Vevo.com, and will enjoy even more as Vevo continues to complete syndication deals supplementing the existing arrangements with leading destinations as AOL and CBS Interactive.”
Fast Company’s assessment of MTV’s traffic victory after the content debacle is apt:
What’s remarkable about these figures isn’t the difference in unique visitors, but more so how much MTV has climbed in such a short span. In February, when Vevo became the No. 1 music-entertainment network, MTV sat in fourth place behind MySpace and AOL Music. Since then, they’ve more than doubled their Web traffic, rocketing past all frontrunners. Vevo has certainly continued to grow, but with syndication from YouTube, it’s surprising they weren’t able to maintain their top spot.