Jun 28, 2014

Why is YouTube threatening to remove music on indie labels from the site?

As much or more of the music I listen to is on indie labels as it is on “major” labels. Apparently Google is threatening to pull all of their music off YouTube unless the indies agree to sign onto an upcoming streaming service (I’m unclear on whether this means Play Music or something else). Is this just Google playing hardball, or am I only getting one side of the story here? Is there some valid reason for the take down or is Google just turning the screws to get what they want?

Forbes has an interesting article about this that downplays the effect of it:


The official reason is that because YouTube is going to have a pay service that is ad free, and that if the indie labels don’t agree to be part of the paid service, it will put YouTube in a situation where a significant amount of music is available for free users, but paradoxically not for paying customers. Obviously Google/YouTube doesn’t want that, but it seems that they are willing to pull all of the free content if they don’t get their way. The indie labels and artists claim that YouTube is offering them significantly worse terms than the rest of the industry, but I’m not privy to the details. YouTube has a lot of leverage here, and if they prevent upcoming artists who haven’t signed with a major label from being on YouTube, it could seriously harm many careers, and perhaps prevent many bands from even becoming known to a wider audience.

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