With the launch of YouTube's new streaming music service around the corner, independent artists and labels are stepping up their fight against what they call unfair royalties for indie artists.
According to Google (parent company to YouTube), 95% of the music industry has made a deal to be a part of the new streaming service. The other 5% are independent artists and labels who have claimed that YouTube refused to negotiate after offering them a lower royalty rate than artists belonging to big label. It’s estimated that independent music accounts for nearly a third of all music sales and streams, including Adele, Jack White and The Arctic Monkeys.
Artists who do not agree with Google’s terms may face a ban from YouTube--a potentially crushing blow for many artists who use the video sharing site as a key platform for reaching fans.
Now, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), an organization representing the global independent music industry, is planning to bring its case against YouTube's unfair contracts to the European Commission.
A spokesperson from WIN said that YouTube has “suffered a simple but catastrophic error of judgement in misreading the market,” and that it was “setting itself up for failure” with only a handful of indie artists signing up to the deal.
On Tuesday, June 17 YouTube confirmed the rumors that it was looking to launch a streaming music service. While no date has been given for the service’s launch, it is expected to come soon, especially on the heels of Amazon’s new streaming service and Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats Music.
According to WIN, the contracts that YouTube is offering indie artists is well below the industry standard of other streaming services.