Another day, another YouTube competitor. This week, while waiting for the release of Kid Cudi's video for "The Pursuit of Happiness", we learned of a new music video site called Vevo. Similar to MTV Music, Vevo is a music video site, but it's controlled directly by a coalition of record labels including, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, EMI and Abu Dhabi Music Company, with Universal being the first of the four to contribute material. But this time, unlike MTV Music and all the other YouTube competitors, YouTube and their parent company Google are actually helping them out by lending their expertise and aiding with the development of the site! To see if the folks behind YouTube were able to create a music video site better than the original, we played around with it for a little bit. Hit the jump to see how it stacks up...
VEVO: YouTube may have helped out with the development, but from the looks of it, it seems their main inspiration was Hulu. Except for the change in color scheme (green and gray vs red and gray), the two sites look exactly alike. Not that we're complaining. Go with what works, right? From the Vevo homepage you can easily browse by Videos, Artists, Genres and Channels. Or you can search for a video using the search box located to the left of those links. Like all other video sites you get the Most Popular Today, Top Videos and Top Playlists. It's all pretty straight forward, stylish and caveman simple.
YOUTUBE: What YouTube lacks in stylish cool it makes up for in customization. If you don't like one of the info boxes on the homepage, YT gives you more than enough freedom to switch it up as you please, which is awesome. But over all, the interface feels a little dated and cluttered compared to the new wave of video websites. It works well, yeah, we just wish they would hire a new design team to make it look as good as it works.
VEVO: Vevo is made to be a site solely for the music properties held by the four backing labels, so its content is going to be extremely limited to music. You're not going to find the latest Net sensation on there, nor are you going to find clips from your favorite TV show. But you will find almost every Universal and Sony music video ever made. They already have over 14,000 videos and they launched a couple days ago. Browse the genres and you'll find everything from electronic and hip hop videos to soundtrack and spoken word videos, if that's what you're into.
YOUTUBE: You already know YouTube's deal. If it's not on YouTube it probably doesn't exist. You can find any and everything on YouTube, even if it's only a video of a guy recording the video you're looking for off of his TV. We didn't say it was all high quality, we just said it was there.
VEVO: When it works (things are still a bit buggy), and once you get past the requisite commercial and if you're on a pretty fast computer and internet connection, it's great. Clean, fast and clear. Only thing is once you try to skip to a later part of the video, it will probably freeze up on you forcing you to restart the video. And unlike all the Universal videos on YouTube, you can actually embed these on your site in high quality. Another cool, but kinda useless, feature is the "lyrics" button. Click it and lyric captions will appear on the screen. Pretty dope.
YOUTUBE: YouTube's flash video player is lightweight but in a good way. Videos load instantly and you can now jump to a part of a video that has not yet loaded. They also give you a number of embed options including four different screen sizes.
Vevo: Every video on Vevo is presented in crisp, high resolution with an HD option on top of that. It looked even better than MTV Music's videos, which makes sense as these videos are coming straight from the label.
YOUTUBE: Anyone can upload a YouTube video, so the quality ranges from extremely poor to damn near HD quality videos. Even still, Vevo's videos on a whole are of a much better quality than even the best quality YouTube clips.
FINAL VERDICT: We understand why the record labels would want to create their own video site. The need to control their property is paramount, more important than user experience. Fortunately, they've created a site that has potential to be a Hulu for music videos, or something. Watching videos in Vevo's high quality player is a much better experience than watching it in YouTubes frequently pixelated offerings. Will we stop watching music videos on YouTube? No, but there's a good chance we'll check Vevo for a video first before we head back home to YouTube.