Network television's belated embrace of internet video, with Hulu.com, did not go unnoticed by the buzzard-circled music industry. When NBC convinced some of its rivals to team up and offer their own high-end YouTube -- in a setting where they could run tons of ads, disable the fast-forward button, allow the viralization of television and movie clips, and perhaps even make some money -- TV viewers gave it a thumbs-up. Traffic went through the roof. Hipsters can now embed Jimmy Fallon clips. Life was good.
It took a while, but music's major labels -- with the exception of Warner Bros. -- threw in together and announced Vevo.com, which substitutes double consonants for double vowels but otherwise photocopies the concept. No more "embedding disabled by request" on YouTube -- the major-labels took their music videos and went home, and still had enough juice from their lawsuits with Google to make YouTube provide the back-end technology for Vevo's site.
Vevo.com launched last night with a celeb-strewn party in NYC, which also doubled as the beginning of the labels' plans to film and roll out exclusive content on Vevo by some of its biggest artists, including Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert. The site went live this morning.
Let's just say Hulu wasn't built in a day.
Being familiar with website development, we consider it a low blow to publicly berate a site for bugs on its first day. Shit happens. But for a site of this magnitude and this much money behind it, Vevo has some 'splaining to do. We experienced some loooooong page-load times. Clicking on the day's most-watched video bar in the top navigation can be a particularly unrewarding experience. Early in the day, the search results for "michael jackson" returned, among other things, a video by Alan Jackson -- though that's since been fixed. And the site's artist pages are still a work in progress: Lady Gaga's page shows her latest Twitter post, but Taylor Swift's doesn't. Here's a hint.
Ah, but all is not lost . . . yet. Below: five easy suggestions that would make Vevo.com better, quick:
5. Occasionally, people on the internet forget to type "www" in your URL. You might want to use a little domain redirect, so that people typing quickly don't get this.
4. Vevo's video player is reasonably OK -- pretty much YouTube quality
(which isn't surprising, since the guts of Vevo are being provided by
YouTube). It's no Vimeo, but we'll consider it an improvement -- provided that Vevo starts giving users the
ability to customize the size of Vevo's embeddable players. Right now
they're stuck at about 575 width, which will cause some ugly layout
trainwrecks on most people's blogs.
3. Dudes, easy on the pre-roll, please. We don't mind sitting through a couple of ads when we're watching a half-hour of The Office, but 30 seconds for a three-minute video seems a little excessive
2. Upload a lot more shit, quick, and keep the site way more up-to-date. In terms of overall coverage, well -- just take a look at Vevo's "Hit List" page, their portal for latest-and-greatest pop videos, and compare it with YouTube's music portal. Um, guess which one we're sticking with?
1. When we tried to login with Facebook Connect or our YouTube account --
two of the five preferred login methods on Vevo.com -- we got ugly
errors. Not that we really wanted them playing with our friends anyway.
If we weren't poking around out of curiosity, we wouldn't be
registering for the site at all. And even when you had us on the hook,
you couldn't seal the deal. Fail.