YouTube is expected to start removing music videos by independent artists within days.
The move comes following a dispute over proposed royalty payments to independent record labels and their artists.
YouTube – owned by Google – has finally revealed, after months of speculation, that it will be launching a subscription based music streaming service in the coming months. Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of content and business operations, claims that “90% of the music industry” has signed up to the new service, but that a group of influential independent labels are contesting what they have branded an “idefensible” deal.
As a result, Kyncl has estimated that videos by artists signed to labels including XL Recordings (Adele, Jack White) and Domino (Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand) could disappear from YouTube “within a matter of days.”
Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, a trade body representing some of the independent labels in question, has accused YouTube of “acting like a dinosaur.” She says the move has been seen as a threat to try and coerce the labels into agreeing to the deal.
However, Kyncl said YouTube’s deal is fair to all involved. “We’re paying them fairly and consistently with the industry,” he claimed. It is reported that the major labels have signed a three-year global licensing deal with YouTube, sharing an advance of around $1 billion (£588m).
YouTube’s subscription service is expected to launch in late 2014.
What do you make of the news and the stance that independent record labels are taking? Do you think that YouTube’s actions are a threat to force a deal? Do you think that music streaming services are a help or hindrance for independent labels and artists? Get in touch and let us know what you think.