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MTV in talks to license Vevo videos

Last year, the two companies couldn't agree on licensing terms, but now they are close to reaching a deal, sources tell CNET.

Greg Sandoval/CNET

MTV, the entertainment powerhouse that was once synonymous with music videos, may soon end a feud with Vevo, the Web music video company supported by three of the top four record companies.

Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff at its launch party in 2009 Greg Sandoval/CNET

Sources close to the negotiations told CNET today that the two companies are in talks on a deal that would give MTV's online properties access to Vevo's music videos and the two sides are nearing a final agreement. Music videos are some of the most watched content online.

Vevo's content comes from Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony Music Entertainment.

Last year, Universal Music, the label behind such artists as U2 and Lady Gaga, declined to renew its licensing deal with MTV after negotiations broke down.

Universal Music owns a stake in Vevo, along with Sony Music and Abu Dhabi Media, so it was only natural that the video service didn't sign with MTV either. According to sources, one of the sticking points back then was that MTV didn't want to use Vevo's video player.

The break between the two companies triggered a public-relations war. Vevo and MTV began trying to one-up each other each month as to which service was seeing the most traffic.

In the early 1980s, MTV became a cultural force by airing music videos on cable TV. But the company veered away from music videos, and YouTube breathed fresh life into the genre starting in 2005. Some of most popular clips on YouTube, which hosts Vevo's content on its site, are music videos.

The New York Post reported last week that Vevo and YouTube are in talks to renegotiate their licensing agreement.

MTV, which has had to take a backseat to YouTube when it comes to music videos, distributes for Warner Music Group, the only top label that didn't join Vevo.