Music video streaming service Vevo today announced that Rio Caraeff is stepping down from his role as the CEO — formally confirming news that was reported twice this past weekend, first based on a leak, then based on a leaked memo from Caraeff to staff.
This is a massive change to the company’s leadership: Caraeff has been running Vevo since 2009 — the year it was founded — seeing the music video JV between Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Abu Dhabi Media Company and Google through massive growth.
Vevo doesn’t have a permanent successor in place. While the company is searching for one, CFO Alan Price is taking up the job on an interim basis, effective January 1, 2015.
“We thank Rio for his innumerable contributions to the company since its launch in 2009 and we wish him all the best in the future,” the JV partners said in a joint statement. “As CEO, Rio has played a central role in building Vevo into the most visited destination for premium music video and entertainment, and in growing the Vevo brand around the world. As a result, we are both encouraged by Vevo’s current performance and excited about its potential to become a massive platform for music entertainment.”
It’s not clear why Caraeff is leaving right now. There have been reports that he was once in talks to run GoPro, but he is not announcing anything specific at the moment.
It comes amid a time of consolidation and large companies getting their music strategies in better order. Companies like Apple snapping up Beats and Vevo investor Google also raising its music game with its Music Key subscription service for YouTube coming out in beta this week.
Some have suggested that Music Key could end up hurting Vevo, and in any case it will give YouTube a more direct line towards monetising music and potentially cutting out Vevo in the process.
There have been other departures at the company, such product head Michael Cerda leaving in July.
“I am tremendously proud of the team that we have assembled and what we have accomplished in our never ending mission to thrill and delight everyone on the planet who loves music video. We have built an amazing company, so it is with no small amount of regret that this chapter comes to an end, but after nearly six years, the timing is right for our board to identify my successor,” Caraeff said in his own statement.
Vevo has not disclosed the financial details of its backing or its wider financial picture, but the company did release some other stats today.
It says it has delivered “100 billion streams across its distribution platform annually” and that it has generated “hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, growing its business at a rate of over 50% year-over-year since 2010.”
It says that it has invested more than $500 million in video programming that it has collected by way of royalties paid to rights owners, artists and songwriters.
Vevo also says that in the last five years, 365 music videos from more the 125 artists have generated over 100 million views each — that’s the thick wedge of the long tail, at least.
The company makes money through advertising and says that it currently works with 1,100 global advertisers representing 50% of the world’s top 100 marketers. On top of that, it’s been making itself more ubiquitous with partnerships with the likes of Pinterest.
But it’s not clear if all this has helped make Vevo a profitable venture, or what its next steps will be as a company.