YouTube unveils Music Key subscription service

YouTube Music Key Branding

After much rumour, speculation and tussling with independent record labels, YouTube has now unveiled it’s Music Key subscription service.

A £9.99 monthly subscription will allow users to watch ad-free music videos, as well as download them for use offline. A membership will also give access to the existing Google Play All Access service, an “all you can eat” music streaming and download facility.

The launch of Music Key had been delayed by disputes with independent record labels, but Google says that it has now signed agreements with hundreds of indies worldwide.

Whilst the finer detail of those agreements is not yet available, Brad Nevin, Chief Executive of the Orchard group of independent record labels has said that the deal is both fair and “a phenomenal opportunity.”

Music Key is intended to become a rival to other music streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio and Beats Music.

The launch comes in the wake of a fierce row between pop superstar Taylor Swift and the Spotify music streaming service. Swift recently removed her entire back catalogue from Spotify, disgruntled by the level of payments made to artists and publishers by the business.

“I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music,” Swift recently told Yahoo Music.

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Trent Reznor: Paying for music is “a relic of an era gone by”

Trent Reznor 2014

Nine Inch Nails frontman and film score composer Trent Reznor has said that paying for music is “a relic of an era gone by.”

Reznor, who was also chief creative officer at the Beats Music streaming service and is now working with tech giant Apple following their acquisition of Beats, says he also understands why U2 gave away their new album for free.

Speaking in interview with Billboard, Reznor said: “It’s something I spent a lot of time thinking about. I think paying for music is a relic of an era gone by – and I’m saying that as somebody who hopes you pay for music.”

“I’ve spent my life trying to make this thing that now everybody now thinks should be free. With U2, there was an incentive to get in front of as many eyes as possible. I can see what was appealing to them about that and they’re getting paid for it.”

“There’s the argument, ‘Did that help further devalue music?’ Yes, I think it did. When you put your music on, or allow your music to be on YouTube, is that devaluing music? There’s a whole generation of kids that listen to music on You Tube. They’re not going to pay a dollar for that song – why would you? it’s a complex problem.”

Meanwhile, Nine Inch Nails were recently nominated for induction in to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, a process that Reznor reveals he feels honoured to be part of:

“I was in Cleveland when they were campaigning to get it built there and I remember doing whatever you needed to do to try and raise public enthusiasm. That’s probably the most attention I had spent on it because I thought it would be nice to have some civic pride in Cleveland.”

“But I find it flattering to be one of the nominees. It would be an honour to be a part of that if it goes that way. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’ve done the best work I can do.”

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YouTube will remove indie label music videos “within days”

You Tube Cropped

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.

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Lana Del Rey streams new song ‘Brooklyn Baby’ online

Lana Del Rey is streaming new track “Brooklyn Baby” online. You can listen by clicking above.

The song comes from her new album, Ultraviolence, which is due for release on the 16th of June.

Ahead of the release, Del Rey gave an interview to The Fader, revealing that she is not interested in the idea of feminism, and giving details of why she broke down in tears during a performance in Dublin.

“For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept,” Del Rey says. “I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested… My idea of a true feminist is a woman who feels free enough to do whatever she wants.”

Of the Dublin performance, Del Ray cited illness and doubt as the reason for her tears. “I’d been sick on tour for about two years with this medical anomaly that doctors couldn’t figure out. That’s a big part of my life: I just feel really sick a lot of the time and can’t figure out why. I’d gotten these shots in Russia, where we’d just been. It was just heavy. It’s just heavy performing for people who really care about you, and you don’t really care that much about yourself sometimes. I thought it was sad. I thought my position was sad. I thought it was sad to be in Ireland singing for people who really cared when I wasn’t sure if I did.”

Ultraviolence is due for release next Monday, with the full tracklisting as follows:

“Cruel World”
“Ultraviolence”
“Shades Of Cool”
“Brooklyn Baby”
“West Coast”
“Sad Girl”
“Pretty When You Cry”
“Money Power Glory”
“Fucked My Way Up To The Top”
“Old Money”
“The Other Woman”
“Black Beauty” (Bonus track)
“Guns And Roses” (Bonus track)
“Florida Kilos” (Bonus track)

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Led Zeppelin in Talks to Stream Catalogue

Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin have revealed that they are in talks to stream their back catalogue via online music services. The move would represent a rare foray into the digital arena for the band who had waited until 2007 to make their music available via iTunes.

Zeppelin are looking at giving services such as Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody the right to put their music online.

The move follows Metallica making their back catalogue available to Spotify in recent weeks. The band has previously been very cautious about putting their music into the digital domain.