YouTube will begin pulling music videos from artists including Adele and the Arctic Monkeys off its service by the end of this week – as its standoff with independent labels over royalty rateshits breaking point.
The Google-owned video giant will start blocking videos on its main platform within “a matter of days”, YouTube’s head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl has told theFinancial Times.
The exec argues that 90% of the music industry has signed a contract to license YouTube’s as-yet-unlaunched subscription service – even though number of influential independents, led by trade bodies WIN, AIM and IMPALA, have refused to sign what they see as “indefensible terms”.
It now appears YouTube will punish this decision by removing content from its free service, which attracts more than a billion unique users every month.
This group of independents have been backed by the BPI, the body which represents all three major labels in the UK, as well as some large independent labels.
The majors are understood to have signed a three-year global licensing deal with YouTube for the new service, which comes complete with a shared advance of around $1 billion.
Music Week understands that some leading independent digital distributors – including INgrooves, Believe Digital and The Orchard – have also come to an agreement with YouTube to license the platform.
YouTube announced earlier this year that its total payouts to music rights-holders have now exceeded $1 billion.
“While we wish that we had 100 per cent success rate, we understand that is not likely an achievable goal and therefore it is our responsibility to our users and the industry to launch the enhanced music experience,” Kyncl told the Financial Times.
YouTube is set to begin internal beta tests of its new subscription site this week, ahead of a public launch later this summer.
Kyncl said YouTube was offering all labels an equitable deal. “We’re paying them fairly and consistently with the industry,” he said.
Tell us what you think about this. Do you think YouTube are using their power like Spotify to force artists to do what they want regardless.
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