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YouTube goes Disco with music-video feature

YouTube users can now sort and add music videos to playlists much like they do songs in their iTunes collections.

A screenshot of YouTube's new music-video feature, Disco.
Greg Sandoval/CNET

NEW YORK--YouTube has begun testing a new music feature designed to entice users to stay on the site longer.

YouTube Disco enables people to key an artist name or song title into a search field, and then it creates a playlist for them. Each clip will play automatically, one after the other, with no prompting from the user.

Users can also mix and match songs in their playlists. This is the kind of thing that people can fire up and let play for hours of free music listening. YouTube now sees hundreds of millions of visitors a month, but the Google-owned company would like people to stick around longer. YouTube users spend an average of 15 minutes per visit on the site.

Soon, however, the video clips will live on Vevo's site, the music video start-up created by three of the top labels with YouTube's help, said Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff in an interview Thursday. Caraeff spoke at the Digital Music Forum East conference.

The new feature is obviously YouTube and Vevo's answer to services such as Muziic, a site created nearly a year ago by Iowa teenager David Nelson. Muziic also enables users to treat YouTube clips less like videos and more like MP3s. The move comes two months after Caraeff and Vevo requested that Nelson cease using Vevo's content and trademark on his site.

During Caraeff's keynote address, he said that Vevo is streaming up to 30 million clips a day and about 900 million streams a month. Vevo's users are 53 percent male, about 70 percent are under 30.

Vevo attracted 35 million unique visitors last month. Caraeff said that these numbers make Vevo a top-five site in the Web video category.