IN A NUTSHELL:>> Prepared by Vladimir Milicev, CEO of VIDYPS 79 d.o.o. and Blue2Digital
Throughout the period 2012-2015 our company VIDYPS 79 d.o.o. acted as a music distribution service on a link between its clients and multiple digital music platforms including Vevo, Google Play, Spotify and many others. Vevo was a respected on demand advertising supported video streaming service, owned and financed by a few major labels including Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. In 2012 VIDYPS 79 launched Blue2Digital as one of the most popular independent services distributing videos to Vevo and YouTube. It operated successfully all the way up until April 2015, when Vevo sent us the delayed royalty reports for January 2015 (as the first in a row) that did not reflect the actual number of views generated from the videos owned by Blue2Digital's artists. Millions of video views were missing (especially the most valuable ones made by the viewers in the United States) and we refused to send such doctored reports over to our clients. Instead of providing us with genuine data, which we, adamantly, were insisting on, Vevo decided to take down the videos distributed by Blue2Digital. This was done without any prior notice, warning or explanation, because of Vevo's apparent inability to respond to our inquiries in a fair and professional manner. We got overwhelmed by tons of emails from our angry clients, but we were unable to tell them anything more about the occurrences at that moment. Vevo officials wouldn't reply to our emails or return our phone calls - the videos were removed insidiously on a Friday afternoon, just before the weekend. Vevo LLC eventually suspended any further payments to VIDYPS 79 d.o.o. having left an enormous debt of hundreds of thousands of dollars unpaid to our company and its clients.
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THE MORE VIEWS ONE VIDEO HAS, THE MORE MONEY IT WILL MAKE:Despite being caught by suprise, we came round quickly and it didn't take us long to puzzle out what it actually was about. Vevo let the revenues increase more and more over the months and just before the time they were to pay us our share, they cut off the views and revenues accordingly. The royalty reports were made and delivered to us on a regular basis since 2012. Other than some minor issues, no suspicious activity had ever been detected from our videos for any period till that day. How were we supposed to explain such an overnight drop off in views and revenues to our clients? It seems that we were expected to obey and restrain from raising any questions. Still, we importuned Vevo to give answers to some questions they found unsuitable to give any answers to. They were enough of it and wanted to teach us a lesson by taking our videos down. It made no sense to distribute new videos to Vevo anymore. Before going public, we had to prove this thesis and it was by no means easy. It took us quite a lot of time to collect evidence; to put it mildly, we felt indignation at having been treated unfairly.
IN THE COURSE OF EVENTS:There was no public proclamation made by Vevo until May 12, 2015, when Vladimir Milicev, CEO of Blue2Digital, got a scanty, deficient email from Armand Adams, Coordinator at Content Operations at Vevo: "We have detected some suspicious activity from your account which we are currently investigating. In order to properly protect ourselves during this process, your videos have been temporarily hidden until further notice."
WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS?Nobody really understood what Vevo was up to. They had never reported any suspicious activity upon any of the videos distributed by Blue2Digital (other than some minor issues) and we were distributing videos since 2012. And then, they came up with "distressingly serious" affairs which caused 1,500 videos to go down, all within a couple of hours! Two weeks had passed before Armand Adams, Coordinator at Content Operations at Vevo sent another email stating that "with the exception of the below videos, all VIDYPS79 uploads will be live again within ~2hrs". There was a list of 25 "blacklisted" videos that were not supposed to go live again:
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