Test Drive: A new (but inconsistent) Vevo redesign

Vevo redesign 2Less than a year after unveiling a major iOS redesign, Vevo is sprucing things up again. Whereas the November updates focused on aesthetics, the new changes center on discovery tools. I explored the changes on iOS.

The main video feed is now focused on just spotlight videos, which are pulled based on the user’s listening preferences and favorite artists. That meant I was seeing lots of Rihanna and Beyoncé, and the rest populated with female chart-toppers. The old version allowed you to swap between two feeds, spotlight and favorites, and had different sized-thumbnails. Now each one takes up the entire screen, and the favorite videos have been pushed aside to live under the listener’s profile page.

The search section has folded in discovery and browsing tools. One such feature is “dscvr,” a mouthful of a name intended to highlight up-and-coming artists with special performances. The update also adds curation, with new hosts pulled from both the U.S. and the UK. A group of tastemakers will have playlists on the video site. The curators include Matt Pinfield, formerly of MTV, metal performer Jamey Jasta, and Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter.

Poking around in the app, the concepts Vevo promised to have in this redesign don’t seem to gel together. I tapped on a dscvr thumbnail, but it was in a playlist with lots of well-known top 40 hits. And even finding a dscvr video or curated playlist is a chore. You can’t find the curator lists by searching their name, and browsing seems to involve lots of scrolling and swiping across my phone screen.

I had enjoyed the user-friendly updates rolled out in November; they made the app a place where you could lose an hour hopping between music videos. This update feels more opaque, and despite the claims of more discovery and encouragement for newer artists, it feels even more like a showcase of the already popular videos I’ve seen.

Anna Washenko