x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Music giant Vevo to launch Middle East service by June

BREAKING NEWS: Music-video service Vevo is in talks with Arab record labels such as Rotana over digital distribution rights.

The digital music-video service Vevo plans to launch in the Middle East and North Africa by the end of June, and is in discussions with Arab record labels over licensing deals.

Vevo launched in December 2009, and is a joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and the Abu Dhabi Media Company, which also owns and publishes The National.

It offers over 25,000 music tracks as well as other video entertainment, but is currently restricted to users in the US and Canada. However, the service will soon launch in the UK, followed by the MENA region by the end of the second quarter, said Rio Caraeff, chief executive of Vevo.

"We're trying to launch as soon as possible later this year, to bring Vevo to the region," said Mr Caraeff. "I think the middle of the year, within the late-Q2 timeframe, is probably... realistic."

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Mr Caraeff said that negotiations are currently underway to secure the rights for Arabic music-video content, to ensure the product is more relevant to its user base.

The site already has the global rights to use music videos owned the likes of Universal Music, Sony Music and EMI - but is also in talks with Rotana, which owns the world's largest catalogue of Arab music and film.

"The rights for the local repertoire, in the UAE and from companies like Rotana... we don't have yet. So we're in the process of trying to license that," said Mr Caraeff.

"For any of our international launches, you need to have local programming, local marketing, local events, local brand advertising, and local repertoire. And so we're working with Rotana and other providers of local repertoire, some of which are affiliated with our global licensors," he added.

bflanagan@thenational.ae