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YouTube to remove videos from indie music labels

Indie videos to vanish in days

YouTube’s plans for a music video subscription service similar could see content from smaller independent labels removed from the site, it was confirmed yesterday.

The paid-for service has been in the works over a year, and will be similar to Spotify Premium – allowing users to watch music videos or listen to tracks without adverts, and sync content to a device to use offline.

The video giant has been busy signing up record labels to be included in the service, but the Worldwide Independent Music Industry Network (WIN) says in a statement that the terms are not as favourable as those offered by Spotify and Deezer, and contracts currently on offer are on “highly unfavourable, and non-negotiable terms”.

Speaking to the Financial Times yesterday, head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl said “90 per cent of the music industry” have agreed to be included, including giants Sony and Universal. However, content from labels that are not cooperating will be blocked “in a matter of days”.

More for the musicians

Some of the biggest names affected by the disagreement include Adele, Jack White, Sigur Ros and the XX who are signed to XL Recordings, as are Radiohead who famously allowed fans to pay whatever they liked for their 2007 album In Rainbows. Domino is also reportedly refusing to accept the terms, the label home to Arctic Monkeys, Hot Chip, Animal Collective and Jon Hopkins.

Alison Wenham, CEO of WIN, called the decision a “grave error of commercial judgement in misreading the market”.

However, the launch of the new service is being positioned as beneficial to the artists. In a statement to Mashable, YouTube said:

“Our goal is to continue making YouTube an amazing music experience, both as a global platform for fans and artists to connect, and as a revenue source for the music industry. We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind — to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year.”

In February this year YouTube was challenged by the British Phonographic Industry over what it pays to artists.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword commented: “Although it’s positive to hear about artists getting more money for their efforts, YouTube has always been a great way for emerging artists to get noticed, get shared, and get exposure – and you can’t put a price on that.”

Written by Rachel Hand

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