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Independent Artists Face Being Blocked By YouTube

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Artists signed to Independent labels could find that their videos are removed from YouTube once its new music streaming service is launched. YouTube has announced plans to launch its music streaming service in the summer, however, many Independent record labels have refused to agree to the new terms and conditions.

Ahead of the launch, Google, which owns YouTube, has been re-negotiating its deals with artists, and if new licences aren’t negotiated successfully then the videos from artists such as Adele and Radiohead could soon be removed from YouTube.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations for YouTube, indicated that videos could be blocked “within days” if the new contracts aren’t agreed.

While YouTube has agreed contracts with major labels such as Sony, independent labels and artists feel that the agreement doesn’t offer them a fair deal and say that they are being offered “unfavourable terms”. Ed O'Brien, guitarist for Radiohead has even gone as far as accusing YouTube of trying to “strong arm” independent labels into accepting low fees.

Alison Wenham, CEO of the Worldwide Independent Network, said:

“.. Put simply, by refusing to engage with and listen to the concerns of the independent music sector YouTube is making a grave error of commercial judgment in misreading the market. We have tried and will continue to try to help YouTube understand just how important independent music is to any streaming service and why it should be valued accordingly... “

“…By not giving their subscribers access to independent music YouTube is setting itself up for failure…”

However, if videos are blocked, they will still be viewable on YouTube via other video channels such as Vevo, but exclusively licensed content is likely to be removed if a deal isn’t reached with Independent record labels.

For its part, YouTube argues that it aims to become a revenue source for the music industry and that it provides a “global platform for fans and artists to connect”.

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