Vevo, in which Google has a minority stake, spent a few years trying to untangle some of the threads that kept it so intertwined with YouTube. That led to a redesigned site and apps that it positioned as a home for music lovers. It tuned recommendations based on your watch history and likes, and sought to grab viewers' attention by getting artists and music bloggers to curate playlists. Vevo even had a strange Watch Party feature (which let you talk with your pals as you watched videos together) before trying a Total Request Live-style live show. The company aimed to roll out subscription plans too, but that didn't get off the ground.
The app closures follow an exodus of top figures at Vevo over the last six months, including its CEO, CTO and head of product, along with several product and engineering employees. It seems music video programming, advertising (which Vevo will keep selling alongside YouTube's own ads) and original content are the focus areas for the time being. The strategy shift comes just as the paid YouTube Music service launched this week, with YouTube seeking to gain ground in the music streaming space. Going forward, it may be better for Vevo to get a piece of that subscription pie.