In a war over video streaming rights, MTV.com and Universal Music Group are playing nice in the sandbox… for now… so viewers can vote on videos. Which brings up the question, when an artist leaves a label… who owns the rights to stream their music videos that were recorded while at the label?
Justin Bieber is a nominee in the Best New Artist category for this year’s MTV VMA’s.
Viacom-owned MTV.com recently lost its rights to stream videos from Universal artists such as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Kanye West when their deal expired in July. The two companies couldn’t agree on digital-advertising terms.
But according to MTV, Universal has provisionally allowed the website to publish its artists’ videos strictly for the purpose of the Video Music Awards, to be held in Los Angeles on Sept. 21.
“They did grant us digital rights,” MTV Networks Senior VP Jeannie Kedas said of Universal. “[I] think they recognize the value of MTV’s VMA’s for their artists.”
Indeed, the awards show is perhaps the premier event for popular music, a necessary stage for every label’s artists. Many of this year’s nominees and headliners are signed to Universal, the world’s largest record label.
A significant part of the awards process allows viewers to vote online, which ends Aug. 24. Though MTV.com had been proscribed from running Universal’s videos, the temporary truce allows for the viewing of their videos for the voting process.
Universal declined comment, but a label executive previously told Ad Age that they are seeking standard syndication terms.