It just goes to show, that a sensationalist headline is too good to pass up. And yes, if YouTube was going to rip down every video containing music that was not signed up to their new Spotify-esque music streaming service, then that WOULD be HUGE news. As it was today.
Sure, Robert Crookson of the Financial Times got the interview with Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of content and business operations, but even he got the story wrong. YouTube has been so secretive up to this point about it’s alleged streaming service (they hadn’t gone on record that it even exists until today) that Crookson interpreted what Kyncl said wrong.
Note that in Crookson’s article, Kyncl is not quoted anywhere saying “YouTube will be blocking music videos.” Crookson said it. And everyone else repeated it.
You really think that every video that contains music is going to be ripped down if that song has not been submitted to YouTube’s new music streaming service? That would be a nightmare for YouTube. With lots of room for error.
In addition to the indie labels holding out, some artists have direct deals with iTunes and distribute their music there and to NO OTHER retailer. Not Spotify. Not Amazon. Not Beats. Just iTunes. But they have tons of music videos on YouTube. There is no way YouTube will remove these artists’ videos for lack of a distribution deal.
**Update 6/18/14 9:52am – There are millions and millions of videos uploaded by 14 year olds in their bedrooms around the world singing songs they just wrote. Or cover songs they did not obtain the license for. They have not distributed these songs to YouTube Music, iTunes, Spotify or anywhere else. You think YouTube is just going to start banning these users? Ripping down millions of videos from kids? From artists who don’t know better?
What about the web series built on YouTube with original scores? These scores are also not distributed to YouTube Music (or anywhere else). Gone too?
A source very familiar with YouTube Music’s streaming partner agreement, who would like to remain anonymous, told us today:
“With the surrounding text (and other things I’ve read including the partner agreement) I take it to say “We’re blocking videos [from monetization].” When they say “platform” they mean content ID. Saying they’re blocking videos from YouTube doesn’t make any logical sense to YouTube as a platform. One thing I’ve noticed from working with them is they tend to use a lot of insider language when trying to communicate with the masses. It’s very confusing.”
This source explained that the “account” they refer to is the CMS account you get from YouTube when you become an approved partner of their video monetization program and the account partners use to manage content ID claims. Since the streaming service and content ID will be managed under the same partner agreement, you must agree to both.
So, monetization will be shut down from videos that contain music that has not been submitted to YouTube’s music streaming service.
It’s well documented that YouTube’s proposed royalty rate for independent labels and musicians on its pending music streaming service is horribly unbalanced. Independent music licensing company Merlin’s CEO, Charles Caldas, mentioned at the AIM Music Connected conference in London on April 30th:
“The ironic thing is that the service that pays the least is the service that’s the most well funded and run by the biggest company in the world: their figures are by far the worst, whether you measure them on a per-stream basis or a per-user basis.”
YouTube has refused to negotiate with independent labels and is going to pay them a horrible rate. What happened to “don’t be evil?”
So, the fact of the matter is, YouTube is NOT going to be removing videos, just shutting down the monetization.
Photo is by Bridget Coila from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License.
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music business advice blog, Ari’s Take. Listen to his new album, Brave Enough, on Spotify or download it on BandCamp. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake