The fundamental problem with Vevo is simple: it’s just a new “distribution channel” for the same old toxic junk. There’s no innovation of any kind at its heart. It sets no incentives for better stuff to be made. Here’s a simple example: We all know copyright’s deeply broken, but instead of innovating new kinds of property rights, Vevo’s built on copyright. You can’t even access it from outside the US. Just like McDonald’s selling fake “cappuccinos” isn’t exactly innovative, neither is a new channel to distribute the latest Kanye West video.
Thin value. Because it’s unnovative, Vevo fails to address the music industry’s big problem: investing in Kanye Wests is a poor proposition. It requires huge marketing expenditure, only to deliver ever more meager, fleeting returns — usually propped up by gaming the charts. That’s the essence of thin value, and the 21st century demands thicker value. But Vevo actually enhances the incentives to create thin value, by providing yet another marketing “channel.” Vevo props up a dead, decaying business model — instead of seeking paths to one built on radically more awesome music in the first place.