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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

YouTube To Begin Blocking Indie Labels

UK Indie Labels image
It's an open secret that YouTube is preparing to introduce its own streaming music service soon, and in doing so it's revisiting its licensing agreements with all the major and indie labels.

Apparently that isn't going so well on the indie side, especially in Europe where the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), a global consortium of small labels, is refusing to sign what it deems to be an oppressive agreement.

As a result, YouTube is threatening to pull WIN's content from the site and block them from uploading any new content.

This seems pretty harsh, and indeed it stops the WIN-associated labels and their artists from directly making money from their videos, but it doesn't mean that artists like Adele and Arctic Monkey's won't be represented on the service. The ban apparently applies to only master recordings, and since the majority of videos are uploaded by fans themselves, it seems that only the "official" videos are in jeopardy of being blocked.

In essence, Google wants to refashion YouTube more as a music service, complete with the ability to download a song for offline playback. They want to pay the indies less for this feature than they'll pay majors, which is why WIN is balking.

You have to hand it to WIN for standing up to one of the biggest corporations on the planet. That said, record labels everywhere are relying more and more on the income from YouTube, and cutting that off can have a serious impact on their bottom line, which translates directly to the artists.

Let's hope that this disagreement is resolved soon for everyone's sake.
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