Universal Music Group Pulls Videos Off MTV.com

Negotiations at an impasse, so no online videos from Lady GaGa or Eminem

Last Updated: August 6, 2010 @ 5:12 PM

Visitors to MTV.com will be hard pressed to find hot videos like "Alejandro" or "Love the Way You Lie"

Talks between MTV and Universal Music Group over a new licensing agreement reached an impasse this week. As a result, the music producer behind GaGa, Eminem, U2 and Kanye West pulled out of MTV this week, the two companies confirmed to TheWrap.

So far, the fallout only impacts the website and will not prevent MTV from airing Universal artists on its cable channels.

Neither company would discuss the particulars of the breakdown of talks. However, MTV spokesperson Kurt Patat did tell TheWrap that  Universal was making demands that did not meet industry standards.

What is known is that last spring Universal asked MTV to rearrange its deal so that instead of licensing videos from the music label, it syndicated videos through Vevo, the online video service it co-owns with Google and Sony Music. In announcing the end of talks, MTV held out the possibility that the two companies might eventually come to a consensus.

“As the industry evolves, we continue to seek out new and innovative ways to connect artists with their fans that are mutually beneficial to everyone. However, during our recent discussions with Vevo, we were unable to reach a fair and equitable agreement for rights to stream UMG artists’ music video content," MTV said in a statement.

Vevo was far less conciliatory, noting: "Vevo has already become the web’s number-one-rated video network with over 49 million unique visitors monthly, dramatically eclipsing those on MTV’s online properties, while attracting scores of major advertisers and tens of millions in advertising dollars. As a result, our artists are enjoying tremendous exposure on Vevo, on YouTube and Vevo.com, and will enjoy even more as Vevo continues to complete syndication deals.”

In June, MTV re-upped its licensing deal with Warner Music Group. As part of that pact MTV agreed to sell ads for Warner music videos, and in return received rights to Warners ad inventory. There was speculation among industry analysts that negotiations might have broken down over ad revenue and control for the Vevo videos.

The company said it hope to re-ignite talks with Universal and Vevo following their collapse at the end of July. Looming on the horizon is the renewal of a licensing agreement with Sony Music, one of Vevo's co-owners, which comes due this fall.