Impala, the Independent Music Companies Association, has claimed that YouTube has breached European competition laws in five different ways over its new music streaming service. The claims come as YouTube continues to negotiate with independent labels ahead of the launch of its new Spotify-
Independent artists and labels have argued that the new service works against independent artists and that the terms and conditions are unfavourable. Independent labels say the contracts don’t offer the same terms that are granted to the larger record labels.
YouTube made headline news recently when it threatened to take down the videos of independent artists and labels if they refused to sign the new agreements. Independent record labels have argued that YouTube, which is owned by Google, is abusing its position ahead of the launch of its new music streaming service.
Google has been accused before of breaching European competition laws. However, Google is yet to be found guilty of breaching any of these laws. If Google were found guilty then they would face heavy fines.
Helen Smith, executive chair of Impala, has said that formal procedures had already began in Brussels. WIN, and indie trade body, is hoping that the European Commissioner act in this case. If Google were to be found guilty then they could face fines of up to 10% of its profits.
Joaquín Almunia, the European Commissioner, as already stated that he’s willing to listen to the concerns of the independent music industry and an internal communication sent out by the European Commissioner indicated there could possibly be a new investigation into Google and the pressure that is being applied by YouTube to independent artists. The letter, which was leaked to the New York Times, details calls for an investigation into the pressure that YouTube was putting on independent artists in order to gain better terms for its new music streaming service due to be launched on YouTube. However, the exact nature of Impala’s claim has not been made public.
Details of the contracts being sent out to music artists were recently leaked on the Digital Music News website. The contracts seemed to indicate that if large labels were to accept the lower rates, then Independent record labels would have to accept these rates to.