Vevo is determined to become the best destination for music videos on mobile. As its next big step since refocusing its energies around mobile last year, the company has refreshed its iOS and Android apps to better surface videos according to the user's taste, while also enlisting curators and hosts for its slate of shortform video content. It's a move that sets the service up to be something closer to MTV (the music video-focused version, anyway) for smartphone users, right as it prepares to launch a subscription service in the near future.
"We're just the frame."
The changes begin with Vevo's logo, which is getting a slight revamp that sheds light on the company's plans going forward. "We're just the frame," said marketing VP Stacy Moscatelli as the official unveil in New York City today. Sharper and a little more elegant than the company's previous logo, the branding lets Vevo "get out of the way" as it highlights videos from major and emerging artists.
That much is clear in the app. Users can now create profiles to share their music tastes with friends. Also, the update's Feed now features videos that play in full-bleed portrait in addition to landscape. (A change clearly aimed right at Snapchat users that also recalls YouTube Music's own video UI.)
New users will also be able to take advantage of the app's improved personalization features. The company is now using machine learning for the first time to build playlists around artists and genres based on what users are already listening to, and has plans to improve on it over time. Coupled with Dscvr, Vevo's music discovery umbrella, viewers will have an easier time finding artists they might like.
The most significant addition to the platform, however, is the original content that surrounds the music videos. Vevo has tapped curators from across the web, like Stereogum's Scott Lapatine and Rap Radar's Brian "B. Dot" Miller, to create video playlists users can follow. The service has also partnered with The Fader to serve content like "The Slang Show" directly to smartphones. Finally, the company has hired three hosts based in the US — namely, Drewsky, Lizzy Plapinger, and Julz Goddard — who'll appear in original shortform videos and create playlists.
Vevo is building its service with a subscription model in mind
Vevo wants its brand to stand apart as a service specializing in music videos, especially at a time when artists like Rihanna and Drake draw in massive online audiences. The company now sees 400 million active users across all platforms, and 60 percent of those users watch videos on mobile. (Vevo doesn't disclose how many active users are on its app, however.) And with a commitment to develop its service into the future, the company hopes to eventually have enough good will to launch a subscription service that can compete well with the likes of Spotify and YouTube Red.
The new Vevo app is available now.
Update 9:30pm ET: A previous version of this article stated that an updated Android app would arrive later this summer. The update is available now. We regret the error and have updated the article.