Youtube has been working for over a year to create its own online music streaming service in the fashion of Spotify, Rdio and Beats Music. Big labels like Universal, Warner, and Sony have already signed licensing deals for the service. However, many independent record labels have yet to sign.
The Worldwide Independent Network, which represents multiple indie labels and artists like Adele and Jack White, says Youtube wants to pay the big players more than the independents and is refusing to negotiate. By not striking a deal, indie artists could face a crushing Youtube ban.
Over a billion people watch over six billion hours of videos in a month on Youtube. And over 80% of the content is music related videos. That equals quite a bit of revenue for a lot of independent labels. Some independent labels, make as much as 22% of their digital revenue from streaming. That exposure and revenue is currently in jeopardy for thousands of indie artists.
Alison Weham, CEO of WIN, criticizes Youtube’s offer by saying “Our members are small businesses who rely on a variety of income streams to invest in new talent. They are being told by one of the largest companies in the world to accept terms that are out of step with the marketplace for streaming.” Groups are already taking action to the powers at be in the US and the EU to fight this extortion-like behavior.
It is rumored that the subscription service will launch this summer through Google’s Music Pass on Android.