YouTube muscles in on Vevo’s territory with new Official Artist Channels

YouTube is making a major change to artist channels on its platform – in a move which probably spells good news for labels, but perhaps less happy news for Vevo.

The Google/Alphabet video giant has today announced that it is expanding the power of its Official Artist Channels.

Over the coming weeks, an individual artist’s myriad official and semi-official channels – including their Vevo channel – will effectively be consolidated into a single, YouTube-endorsed artist destination on the platform.

Crucially, this means that an artist’s subscribers across the affected properties – including their Vevo presence – will automatically become subscribers of these newly verified YouTube channels.

(A new musical note icon will denote these ‘official’, or verified, artist channels.)

What that means in practical terms: When a fan types an artist name into YouTube search, they will be served the Official Artist Channel over any user-run (or, indeed, Vevo-run) equivalent.

In addition, any current subscribers to artist Vevo channels will start being sent notifications from these YouTube Official Artist Channels whenever new videos arrive.

This switch seems likely to have formed a part of recent licensing negotiations with the two parties who together make up Vevo’s majority owners: Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, who both struck new deals with YouTube before the end of last year.

It also seems a likely preparation for the expected arrival of YouTube’s new music streaming service, currently codenamed Remix, in the next few months.

Five of the world’s 15 most-subscribed-to YouTube channels right now are Vevo channels.

Justin Bieber’s Vevo destination (JustinBieberVevo) is the world’s second biggest YouTube channel with 33.6m subscribers, while Taylor Swift’s Vevo hub (TaylorSwiftVevo) is YouTube’s fifth biggest global channel with 27.3m subs.

MBW understands that Vevo channels such as these will continue to exist after acts green-light their Official Artist Channels – but they will be far tougher to find.

Users will have to hunt them out via YouTube’s advanced channel filter in search, or specifically uses ‘Vevo’ in their search term.

Vevo videos will continue to feature prominently within the consolidated Official Artist Channels, however.

The aim, presumably, is not only to make things tidier for YouTube as a service, but to help push ‘official’ content upwards, and suppress less label/artist-endorsed videos, making them less likely to bubble up when a fan is looking for their favourite artist.

As a natural consequence, however, it seems inevitable that Vevo artist channels are about to lose their standing on YouTube.

Vevo’s CEO Erik Huggers parted ways with the company in December.

The firm’s head of product, Mark Hall, reportedly followed Huggers out the door earlier this week.Music Business Worldwide

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