Coldplay, Sir Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga are among over 1,000 pop stars from across the globe to sign a letter of complaint over YouTube's practices, which was handed to EU president Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday.
The letter says that the future of music is being “jeopardised by a substantial ‘value gap’ caused by user upload services such as Google’s YouTube that are unfairly siphoning value away from the music community and its artists and songwriters."
It also calls on Europe’s leaders to address the issue and create “a fair playing field for artists and rights owners. In doing so, you will be securing the future of music for generations to come.”
Other high-profile artists that have signed the letter include Billy Bragg, ABBA, Christina Aguilera, deadmau5, Kasabian, Paul Weller and Ed Sheeran.
YouTube has been the subject of much criticism from artists and labels in recent years, with many claiming that distorts the market place and devalues the work of songwriters.
You can read the letter in full below.
Dear President Juncker,
As recording artists and songwriters from across Europe and artists who regularly perform in Europe, we believe passionately in the value of music. Music is fundamental to Europe’s culture. It enriches people’s lives and contributes significantly to our economies.
This is a pivotal moment for music. Consumption is exploding. Fans are listening to more music than ever before. Consumers have unprecedented opportunities to access the music they love, whenever and wherever they want to do so.
But the future is jeopardised by a substantial “value gap” caused by user upload services such as Google’s YouTube that are unfairly siphoning value away from the music community and its artists and songwriters.
This situation is not just harming today’s recording artists and songwriters. It threatens the survival of the next generation of creators too, and the viability and the diversity of their work.
The value gap undermines the rights and revenues of those who create, invest in and own music, and distorts the market place. This is because, while music consumption is at record highs, user upload services are misusing “safe harbour” exemptions. These protections were put in place two decades ago to help develop nascent digital start-ups, but today are being misapplied to corporations that distribute and monetise our works.
Right now there is a unique opportunity for Europe’s leaders to address the value gap. The European Commission’s forthcoming review of copyright legislation can fix this profound market distortion by clarifying the appropriate use of safe harbours.
We urge you to take action now to create a fair playing field for artists and rights owners. In doing so, you will be securing the future of music for generations to come.
We hope we can work with you to create a sustainable and thriving music sector for Europe.