Second update, 4 pm PT: An executive at YouTube has just informed Digital Music News that Music Key will be available in beta next week. The beta sign-up is here; pricing will be free during a six-month invite-only window, then $7.99 a month before ramping to $9.99. There are still no details on the new indie deal, though no grumblings that we’ve heard (as of yet).
The original article, published early this morning, is here:
YouTube has quietly settled its beef with independent labels, though neither side is willing to disclose details.
As a result, YouTube is now pointing to sealed deals with a vast majority of indie labels, and the company aggressively moving forward with plans to launch Music Key.
Both sides are keeping the specifics under wraps, though independent label consortium Merlin has agreed to terms with YouTube that ostensibly resolve a raft of earlier issues. Those included highly-inflexible contracts that promised to remove any independent label that didn’t participate in the premium MusicKey launch, as well as extremely restrictive clauses related to exclusives with other, competing streaming services (like Spotify).
The battlefield is quite, but whether everyone’s happy is another matter. Both the Financial Times and New York Times are pointed to an amicable handshake, though neither publication knows much about the resulting deal (and no one’s responding to their questions). But Merlin may have given YouTube a deal it couldn’t refuse, at least if a recent pact with Pandora is any indication.
All of which suggests that this YouTube contract, leaked to Digital Music News earlier, may have been ripped up and substantially revised.
More as it develops…
Photo credit: Denise Mattox (Creative Commons by ND 2.0)