In only a matter of days, some of your favorite music videos from your favorite musicians may be pretty hard to find. The video sharing behemoth YouTube is currently in a major licensing dispute with many independent labels including powerhouses Domino and XL. These labels house acts such as Adele, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, and Tyler the Creator, to name just a few. YouTube has said that “within days” it would begin pulling videos from said labels and their artists.
The disagreement lies within the contentious realm of licensing and royalties, a hot-topic issue in a music world working out how to deal with the technology of the 21st century. As YouTube gears up to launch its premium subscription service, it has secured licensing deals—some worth up to 3 billion dollars—with the majors and other labels representing around 90% of the industry. The 10%, including the major independents mentioned above are holding out for a better deal, and protesting against the apparently un-negotiable terms.
“We’re paying them fairly and consistently with the industry,” argues Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations at YouTube. However, many do not feel that way, in fact, the BPI, the UK trade body representing the country’s biggest record labels, has backed the dissenting group in their push for a more equitable agreement.
As many independents continue to hold out, YouTube seems to be pressing on, “While we wish that we had a 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,” said Kyncl. The service will begin beta testing soon and is slated for a launch later this summer, and we will see how soon they act on their threat to begin removing videos.