Bono Brought YouTube And UMG Together

The man behind Universal Music Group’s new YouTube music-video service: celebrity diplomat Bono. Evidently the U2 singer, whose band is on Universal Music Group, set up a meeting between the head of the label and Google CEO Eric Schmidt that led to the deal announced yesterday.

LA Times: Bono played the role of digital ambassador, prodding his label, Universal, and YouTube to explore a partnership.

[UMG’s CEO Doug] Morris recounted how, over dinner in Paris, Bono suggested he meet with Google’s chief executive. Schmidt, meanwhile, said he received an e-mail from Bono urging him to meet Morris. That spurred a trip to New York, where Schmidt said he was struck by the Universal executive’s ideas for new advertising and sponsorship models.

“I came back here in California [thinking]: Why don’t we think about a new approach?” Schmidt said. “That then kicked off Doug’s vision.”

It’s kind of pathetic that Bono had to be the one to get Doug Morris and Eric Schmidt to meet to discuss their gripes about UMG’s existing agreement with YouTube. You would think that the two CEOs would have pursued such a meeting themselves.

Nevertheless, the additional revenue that YouTube’s new music video channel provides will probably eventually trickle down to its artists, which include U2—isn’t it nice how that works out?

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the UMG and Google’s partnership, including the following:

  • It’s not a joint venture. Instead VEVO will be a wholly owned subsidiary of UMG.
  • But both companies reportedly put up equal amounts of equity to start the service.
  • Doug Morris is talking to other labels about participating in the service.
  • UMG is looking to hire roughly 50 employees to work on the site, but YouTube will handle sales for VEVO on a short-term basis.
  • According to Morris, over the past few years, Universal went from losing $70 million on music videos to earning roughly that amount now.
  • Morris said that VEVO would eventually give fans the opportunity to buy merchandise and concert tickets.


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