When is $2 billion not enough? When it’s coming from Google, according to leading music business trade bodies the IFPI and BPI.
This morning Google announced its YouTube Content ID system – which allows rights-holder to identify and monetise their content when it is uploaded to the service – had paid out $2bn since launch.
The tech giant’s senior policy counsel Katie Oyama claimed: “The best way to battle piracy is with better, more convenient, legitimate alternatives. And Google is all-in when it comes to partnering with the content industry to build and enable those alternatives.
"The music industry chooses to monetise more than 95% of their claims, opting to leave the content up on the platform - half of the music industry's YouTube revenue comes from fan content claimed via Content ID. Thanks to Content ID, YouTube is also the only platform that gives partners an automated way to directly monetise background/incidental use and covers."
In a statement, IFPI CEO Frances Moore responded: “Google has the capability and resources to do much more to tackle the vast amount of music that is being made available and accessed without permission on its platforms.
“Our member record companies’ experience demonstrates that Google’s Content ID tool is ineffective in preventing infringing content appearing on YouTube. Record companies and publishers estimate that Content ID fails to identify 20-40% of their recordings.
“Google’s search engine continues to direct internet users to unlicensed music on a large scale. Well over 300 million de-list notices have been sent to Google by IFPI national groups worldwide. Despite this, the amount of traffic to infringing sites from typical music search queries sent to Google is now higher than it was before Google changed its search algorithm to supposedly address levels of piracy.
“Google can, and must, do more to tackle these issues and return fair value to rights holders.”
Meanwhile, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “This report looks a lot like ‘greenwash’. Although we welcome the measures Google has taken so far, it is still one of the key enablers of piracy on the planet. Google has the resources and the tech expertise to do much more to get rid of the illegal content on its services. If Google is sincere about fostering creativity online, it will now commit to implement new measures that will effectively protect artists from sites and apps that rip off their work, and help more fans get their content legally.”
This is the latest installment in the long-running battle between the biz and YouTube, following extensive protests from artists and executives about the 'value gap' between the huge amount of streams generated on YouTube and the relatively small revenues generated, when compared to audio streaming services.