YouTube Plays Favorites With Indie Music Labels

The clock is ticking for Adele, Vampire Weekend, Jack White, and more.

Jack White performs on stage Credit:

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In recent years, YouTube has become the go-to source for folks looking for a no-fuss way to quickly and easily listen to their favorite songs. YouTube wants to capitalize on that fact, and is now poised to launch a subscription-based service that will let users stream music without ads, and download songs to mobile devices.

But as is often the case with music distribution deals, not everyone is on the same page. Several independent record labels have been holding out on YouTube's licensing agreement, and parent company Google isn't too happy about that: the company will soon begin blocking those labels' artists from YouTube.

While Google has already agreed to terms with major labels like Universal and Sony, independents such as XL Recordings, 4AD, and Domino are holding out for better licensing fees.

YouTube will begin blocking content "in a matter of days."

In an effort to have all of the content on its platform bound by the same contractual terms, Google will begin blocking content associated with these unsigned labels "in a matter of days" according to Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations at YouTube. If an agreement is not made soon, users searching for artists like Adele, Jack White, The Arctic Monkeys, and Vampire Weekend might come up empty-handed.

Speaking with the Financial Times, Kyncl insisted that YouTube is "paying [independent labels] fairly and consistently with the industry."

Although Kyncl states that YouTube has agreements in place with 90% of the industry, Merin, an non-profit agency aimed at protecting the rights of independent music companies, has previously claimed that independent artists make up 32.6 percent of the marketplace.

Hero Image: Flickr user "botellitadecielo" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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