Vevo names a new maestro

The music-video streaming company finds a permanent CEO in Erik Huggers, who ran Intel's TV service before the chip company jettisoned it with a sale to Verizon.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Don Reisinger
Joan E. Solsman
2 min read

Erik Huggers is the new head of Vevo. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET

Vevo is still searching for singular status in the online music world, but its hunt for a permanent CEO is over.

Vevo, whose catalog of top music videos makes it one of the most-watched companies on YouTube, named Erik Huggers as chief executive Thursday.

Vevo is a powerful force in online music, as the official provider of many of the Internet's most-viewed videos. But the company is grappling to find a business in its own right outside the world of YouTube. Vevo has benefited as consumers increasingly turn to the Internet to watch and listen to music -- its videos rack up 11 billion views every month. But much of its traffic comes through YouTube, where Vevo has less control over the revenue it can squeeze out of that viewership.

Its owners -- Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, YouTube parent Google and Abu Dhabi Media -- failed to sell Vevo last year, and longtime chief Rio Caraeff departed in the November. Vevo's chief financial officer, Alan Price, has been serving as interim CEO since then.

Huggers previously ran Intel's effort to launch an Internet-delivered TV service called OnCue, a unit Intel sold to Verizon as it switched strategies to focus on its core business of chips. Huggers rose to prominence as the executive who launched the BBC's iPlayer online service, a vanguard of online television streaming.

In his new role, Huggers will be charged with improving the Vevo service and expand the company's relationships with others, Vevo said in a statement.

Vevo also noted that its catalog of 140,000 music videos, original programming, and live concerts has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenue since its launch in 2009, and said it has paid half a billion dollars since its founding to rights owners, artists, and songwriters. Despite all of that success, Vevo is not profitable.

Lately, record labels and artists have raised more doubts about why they should play nice with free streaming services, as those unpaid options have failed to turn people into paying subscribers as the industry hoped. Artist Jay-Z relaunched streaming-music service Tidal last month as an artist-owned alternative to those unpaid options.

Huggers has faced challenges in the past. At Intel, he led the company's over-the-top subscription-based television service, saying that it would be an alternative to traditional cable and satellite for those who wanted to stream television. Before that offering could launch, Intel sold it to Verizon, where he stayed to help continue to build the streaming service, called OnCue, until his departure last year.