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YouTube And Vevo Are Friends Not Frienemies

Youtube_vevoBy Eliot Van Buskirk of

Oh, internets. Just when we get so excited about how amazing you are, you let us down by being wrong — and then reinforcing that wrongness. Let’s start at the beginning. Bloomberg followed up on an AllThingsD report that Google/YouTube is looking to invest in Vevo. The reported $50 million investment would value the venture, owned in part by major record labels, at around $500 million.

The move makes sense. Google has lots of money. Its YouTube website, which is quite popular, depends largely on music content for its popularity (and not just because of this). Vevo is owned to a great degree by the people who own the music copyrights that make that possible.

Google and Vevo are already partners. In fact, Google and YouTube pretty much built Vevo, as many media reporters know.

That’s why we’re so mystified by the following reports on Business Insider, which paint YouTube and Vevo — again, partners that are reportedly about to become closer — as enemies.

First, this wrong article appeared on Business Insider, riding on the coattails of the original, accurate AllThingsD reporting:

YouTube Is About To Keep Its Enemy, Vevo, Very Close

Then, a follow-up story appeared, also on Business Insider — this time goalhanging on Bloomberg’s reporting. It, too, is wrong, because it repeats the same wrongness, which is how wrongness gets amplified and reinforced on the internet, even though it’s usually harder to spot:

“Last month, Peter Kafka at AllThingsD reported that Google was about to buy a chunk of its rival video platform, but didn’t know the size of the deal.”

Apparently, the concept of YouTube and Vevo being bitter enemies has become institutional knowledge at Business Insider, and thousands of people have been exposed to the wrongness on BI alone (let alone on its many syndication partners, like Yahoo Finance). We haven’t seen any corrections to the stories.

In fact, Vevo and YouTube are bosom buddies, and share much of the same DNA. They need each other, and basically run on the same platform already. This investment represents close friends getting closer. The only surprising thing about it (except for maybe what it means for artist payouts, which is unclear) is that Google didn’t get a piece of Vevo from the get-go.

Maybe they meant Vimeo?