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YouTube, Universal pick chief for music video site

Rio Caraeff, executive vice president of Universal Music Group's eLabs, will head up Vevo, a joint music video project led by YouTube and Universal Music.

Rio Caraeff
Rio Caraeff Anne Gim

Rio Caraeff, executive vice president of Universal Music Group's eLabs, is expected to be named president of Vevo, the music video site formed by Universal Music and YouTube, sources close to Vevo said.

Universal and YouTube officially unveiled Vevo in April, saying it would be a showcase for the major labels' music videos and other video content. The site is expected to launch later this year, and Universal and YouTube executives continue to negotiate with the other three major recording companies--EMI, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group--to bring their content into the fold.

Vevo is the brainchild of Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris, who has long sought a way to distribute his company's music videos in a high-quality format. Universal's YouTube channel is by far the most watched on the entire video site.

Caraeff formerly led E-Labs, a digital business unit of Universal Music, the largest of the labels. Prior to that, he led Universal's mobile unit and he's also worked at Sony Pictures Digital. He is expected to be formally named president when Vevo launches.

Caraeff is known for his willingness to embrace technology and its role in the entertainment industry. In January, Caraeff praised YouTube for its shift in focus toward monetization of online video, saying "They have finally turned the spotlight on 'How do we turn this into a business' and that's benefiting the entire ecosystem of content owners as well."