Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Entertainment
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

YouTube acknowledges new music service as it prepares to block some indie artists

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - YouTube will launch a new subscription music service, the company acknowledged Tuesday after being dragged into a public dispute over royalties that will result in the blockade of some independent artists' music videos.

The Google Inc.-owned video site said in a statement that it is "adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube" and that "hundreds of major label and independent artists" have signed on.

The paid service — to be launched within a few months — will likely allow playback of videos without ads and allow for offline playback on mobile devices. That's according to two people familiar with the matter.

The people weren't authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The people also confirmed that a small number of independent artists who had not agreed to new deal terms will have their videos blocked in some countries starting in a few days, even on the free version of YouTube.

YouTube will block the music videos so users of the test version won't be confused about which content they can access for free and which features require payment, the people said. Allowing free streams of music by certain artists while not offering them on the paid service would erode the value of the paid plan, one person said.

The move also adds pressure on those labels to sign, because not being on YouTube altogether will result in less advertising revenue and exposure.

YouTube has reached deals with all three major music labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group — and many independent labels as a whole representing about 95 per cent of all labels, the people said.

Determining which artists are blocked —and where— could be confusing because some indie artists have their music distributed in certain countries by the major labels. Singer Adele, for instance, is signed with Beggars Group's XL Recordings in the U.K., but Sony Music's Columbia label distributes her music in the U.S.

Rich Bengloff, president of the American Association of Independent Music, an industry group representing independent labels, said he disagrees with the characterization that only a few labels haven't signed. He argued that independent artists are being treated unfairly simply because they lack market power.

"I'm not very happy, obviously," he said. "We're asking to be treated equitably and fairly."

One person familiar with the terms said that independent labels are being offered the same per-stream royalty payment as the major labels, but are not offered the same guarantees or advances for the first year.

Alison Wenham, CEO of the Worldwide Independent Network, another trade group representing indie labels, said in a statement that YouTube's decision to blockade some labels was a "grave error of commercial judgment." She said services like Spotify and Deezer have done a better job representing independent music on their platforms.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media