Vevo Is Killing Off Its Mobile Apps, Website to Refocus on YouTube

Major-label owned Vevo is giving up on plans to build its own music video platform outside of YouTube’s control: Vevo is shutting down its mobile apps and consumer-facing website, the company announced Thursday morning.

“We will phase out elements of our owned and operated platforms,” the company said in a blog post Thursday. “Going forward, Vevo will remain focused on engaging the biggest audiences and pursuing growth opportunities.”

In other words: The company is refocusing on YouTube.

Vevo has long reached most of its audience through a distribution deal with YouTube, whose corporate parent Google also owns a minority stake in the company. But in recent years, Vevo had tried to lessen its dependence on YouTube with the launch of a number of slick apps for mobile and TV-connected devices.

This strategy was primarily driven by former CEO Erik Huggers, who at one time also toyed with the idea of launching a paid subscription service for music videos.

However, Huggers left the company in December, signaling a change in direction. His departure was followed by the exit of the company’s head of product Mark Hall, who left for a new job at Bandcamp.

This was followed by the departure of Vevo CTO Alex Nunes this spring, and the layoff of a significant part of the company’s product and engineering team, as Variety was first to report in April.

Vevo will now sunset its Android, iOS and Windows Mobile apps as well as its consumer-facing website. The company will give users of its service a playlist tool to import their Vevo playlists to YouTube. However, it will apparently continue to operate select smart TV apps for the time being.

Vevo will also continue to sell its own advertising against its videos, in addition to the ads that YouTube is already selling. And the company plans to keep investing into original content, including its dscvr and LIFT programs which highlight emerging artists.

Ironically, Vevo’s retreat from the app space comes just as YouTube is doubling down on mobile music: The Google-owned video service relaunched its paid YouTube Music subscription service this week. With new apps, YouTube Music now aims to take on Apple Music and Spotify with a combination of on-demand listening and millions of music videos, many of which are being supplied by Vevo.

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