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Indie labels optimistic for fair YouTube deal

RHIAN JONES
Indie labels optimistic for fair YouTube deal

A number of UK independent labels are feeling positive that a fair deal will be reached with YouTube for its upcoming streaming service, despite receiving harsh warnings from the platform in the past.

Execs from Hospital Records, Stolen Recordings, Mute Group and Faith & Hope Recordings discussed the issue at AIM's Question Time Panel ahead of its AGM in London today.

Hospital co-founder Chris Goss said peers have noticed a change in tone from the Google-owned site in the past week that seems to signal an agreement is not far away.

YouTube initially planned to pull music videos by artists signed to labels that hadn't yet signed up to its new licensing terms.

Indies said the terms were said to be “highly unfavourable" and non-negotiable, and that they included non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) stipulating that collecting societies couldn't share agreed royalty rates  with their own membership.

Answering a question on how important YouTube is as a promotion platform, Goss (pictured) said: "It's the first place people wanting to hear our music will go, but the best way it will date is it if loses independent content.

"That's a clear indication as to why those takedowns will never happen. It's been an extremely challenging few months for everyone and it's fascinating to see how this is now panning out. Potentially that tide is just starting to turn - Google have realised they have made a right mess of this."

MD of Mute Group Shirin Foroutan agreed with Goss after he voiced praise for a collective effort in support from AIM and WIN. She said: "There's strength in numbers in terms of YouTube, there's a spirit in the indie community that hasn’t let it be divisive.

"[Labels] haven’t been split by terms in the contracts that have come to them. What AIM and WIN have done is extraordinary - that's how you change the way business is done."

AIM's Alison Wenham came true on her promise to ramp up press coverage of the debate in early June while WIN held extensive talks with YouTube at their instigation to try and resolve this issue when it first came to light.

Merida Sussex - founder of Stolen Recordings - reiterated the importance of the independent label's content in ensuring YouTube doesn't reach the same fate as Myspace.

"I've felt really empowered by being a part of that group that's trying to challenge and change because I think YouTube just thought everyone would just fold," Sussex explained. "I'm really proud to be part of that stance and I think it will work out because I think they think, "Oh, we suddenly look a bit rubbish and we might not have cool things anymore,"

"Once the kids go, "See you later, I'm going to go to Vimeo," they will date in a hot minute. Myspace used to be everywhere and we thought that was so forever. The rug could get pulled out very quickly."

 

 

 

 

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Tags: youtube, streaming, Labels, Digital, AIM, AGM

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