F*&K It: Here’s the Entire YouTube Contract for Indies…

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164 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    WTF so majors who get hundreds of millions in advance can lower indies rates just on whim?

    Page 25 of 32

    3. Rate Change. To the extent that any major label agrees to any rates for the Google Services that are lower than the rates set forth in Exhibits C or D, including with respect to bundling, Google will have the right to reduce Provider’s analogous rates accordingly, following thirty (30) days written notice (via email will be sufficient) to Provider.

    • Anonymous

      This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Majors don’t give a shit about minimum rates.

      • Anonymous

        “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen”

        Then read the part that says that Google owns everything you’ve ever created if you sign — and that Google has the right to stream it for free on the day it is released everywhere else (i.e. iTunes), as well. (Please see details in the comment below this.)


        You will never sell a song again if you sign this contract! Your entire catalogue will be available for free on YouTube on release day — online AND off-line!

        • Anonymous

          Whoa, I hadn’t seen that comment yet. I can’t wait to see what kind of evil genius Google lawyering someone else finds an hour from now.

        • Anonymous

          For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of Windowing, it is an increasingly popular way to hold new music releases back from streaming sites for a limited period of time — often the first week, but sometimes up to a few months (you probably heard of Beyoncé’s revolutionizing success with the strategy).

          Windowing ensures that:
          1) the artist does not cannibalize her sales during the period in which she’s likely to sell most of her songs, while it
          2) gives less enthusiastic fans the opportunity of streaming her music for free on YouTube, Spotify, etc. later.

          It has often been argued that Windowing is what keeps the music industry — and iTunes — alive.

          That’s why Google’s new contract is so important:

          It is the most brutal attack on music and musicians since Napster because it kills Windowing — and thus, it kills music sales.

          If you sign it…

          • Anonymous

            And you’re trapped for 5 years if you sign…

            The only way out is to file for bankruptcy (good news is that you’re likely to do that if you sign).

          • Anon

            Page 4/3b still seems to allow for windowing on other providers, as long as you don’t use the mechanism to effectively deny them a license + agree to do some Youtube offers at some point. It seems reasonable on the outset, so it needs to be debated in that context. Should really be addressed since if the only argument is the logical extreme, Google will be able to argue themselves out of it with ease.

          • Anonymous

            “+ agree to do some Youtube offers at some point”

            Yeah — some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, consider this justice a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.

        • AB

          Artists/Labels micromanaging their catalogue is the #1 thing that frustrates users and causes them to steal. If the rights holders can all agree to put it ALL out there, you will eventually get people to pay.

        • WaddleDoo

          Are you sure? Going by the wording it seems to me like Page 4/3b DOES allow for iTunes/other provider exclusives, as long as you agree to create some Youtube offers down the line and you don’t block Youtube streaming for an excessive time.

          • Anonymous

            Good luck defining ‘reasonable’, ‘comparable’ and ‘frustrate’ + negotiating the details of this non-negotiable contract with the googleplex lawyers.

      • TuneHunter

        Majors are like party bosses in the communist party or government officials almost anywhere. As long as they can leach the leftovers of old goodwill the party will go on.
        As is YouTube pirate boat with VEEVOO, pig or voluntary slave on the lowest deck of the a.m. boat continues to SHRINK $20B of music to $1B in advertising (actual data for 2013)

  2. Anonymous

    Guys, this is all you need to read:

    Music sales is official over if you sign this contract with Google/YouTube. YouTube owns everything you’ve ever created and has the right to stream it on its free service – online AND off-line.

    You will never sell anything again. YouTube users can stream your entire catalogue for free the day it is released in iTunes.

    “Catalogue Commitment and Monetization. It is understood that as of the Effective Date and throughout the Term, Provider’s entire catalogue of Provider Sound Recordings and Provider Music Videos (including Provider Music Videos delivered via a third party) will be available for the Premium and Free Services for use in connection with each type of Relevant Content, (excluding AudioSwap Recordings, which will be at Provider’s option) and set to a default policy of Monetize for both the Premium and Free Services, except as otherwise set forth in this Agreement. Further, Provider will provide Google with the same Provider Sound Recordings and Provider Music Videos on the same day as it provides such content to any other similarly situated partners. The foregoing will be subject to reasonable quantity of limited-time exclusive promotional offers (in each case, with a single third party partner) (“Limited Exclusives”), as long as a) Provider provides Google with comparable exclusive promotional offers and b) the quantity and duration of such Limited Exclusives do not frustrate the intent of this Agreement.”

      • Anonymous


        This is serious now:

        We need an alternative to YouTube — and soon!

      • Anonymous

        Another thing to consider:

        Google is going to cut your royalties significantly if their new project goes sideways.

        And that happen may very well happen:

        According to Forbes, only 7% are willing to pay for the new YouTube. And that number was before consumers knew that thousands of songs will be removed now, either by Google or content owners. It could be 3% or worse today.

        So you have to ask yourself:

        Am I willing to stream my entire catalog — in return for little or no compensation — for at least 5 years, instead of selling my music from iTunes and everywhere else?

        Bear in mind, that a new fantastic alternative to YouTube may appear in a year from now, but you and all your work will be Google’s property for four more years.

        That’s a long time.

        And don’t forget that you already have alternatives today: You can remove everything you have from YouTube and upload it to Vimeo or Daily Motion instead.

        Both services can stream full HD, and you can embed videos from both services on FaceBook and Twitter.

        A FaceBook-Vimeo combo could soon become a very powerful YouTube alternative!

    • Jack

      No it doesn’t.

      Youtube will own all Provider Sound Recordings, and have streaming rights over them. Provider Sound Recordings are defined as songs that you deliver to Youtube. If you sign the contract and then don’t upload any music then Youtube can’t do anything.

      Which should be obvious.

      • Anonymous

        “If you sign the contract and then don’t upload any music then Youtube can’t do anything”

        Not sure what you mean — if you don’t upload the same content to YouTube that you upload to other services, then it’s a clear violation of the contract:

        “Provider will provide Google with the same Provider Sound Recordings and Provider Music Videos on the same day as it provides such content to any other similarly situated partners”

        • Anonymous

          Says similarly situated – the violation of the contract would be uploading your release to Vimeo first and YouTube days later. Not iTunes, they aren’t similar.

          • Anonymous

            Awesome man, then there’s no problem! How come nobody thought of this?

            Seriously, try not to post sh!t like that, somebody might believe you.

          • tom

            Would you be willing to argue that in court? I think Google would be.

          • Anonymous

            Yes, iTunes and YouTube are similarly situated in terms of law when the two companies release similar versions of a sound recording to the public for commercial purposes.

      • WB

        “including Provider Music Videos delivered via a third party”

        …which given the nature of Google’s contract and lawyers pretty much means “Even if you don’t upload it, if one of your fans does we’ll be streaming it for free whether you want it taken down or not, and doing a dance while singing ‘Sucks to be you, chump! Sucks to be you, chump!'”.

  3. Anonymous

    I’m usually pretty quick to criticize this site’s click baiting and hack listicles, but this move is pretty gangster. nicely done DMN.

      • Anonymous

        Well, I’m another ‘Anonymous’ but I’ll bet everybody loves DMN because of this. It’s the music industry parallel to the Watergate coverage.

        But be prepared for a constant stream of cease & desists…

  4. Anonymous

    My god, people will remove their songs from Youtube like there’s no tomorrow! :)

    • Paul Resnikoff

      The only problem is that it’s virtually impossible to actually remove your content from YouTube, especially if you have a smaller (ie, indie) budget (though ‘major’ budgets only help so much). The reason is that YouTube plays by the DMCA, which of course forces the content owner to claim and demand a removal.

      Beyond that, I’m hearing that a refusal to sign this agreement eliminates all label-upload videos, ie, the good versions with good quality. But, it may also eliminate the possibility of monetizing anything else (according to the latest I’m hearing, please update if that’s changed).

      But, this is already crippling: once you cannot upload your official versions, then you are dealing with endless crappy, low quality lyrics videos that are often monetized by someone else if not policed properly. And, usage patterns show that everyone goes to those videos if the official video isn’t uploaded fast and first.

      Which is one major reason behind the entire model of VEVO. After VEVO, hacked-up and uploaded lyrics videos did a whole lot worse; it cleaned up the dirty streets a bit.

      • Ant

        Talking of Vevo, and their claim that Vevo videos will stay on YouTube and not be blocked. Does Vevo have licensing deals for subscription (as opposed to ad-supported)?

        • Anonymous

          I’d stay far away from VEVO… VEVO is Google, and If YouTube goes south now, VEVO goes down too.

          Besides, you don’t have any control over your content anymore if you go with VEVO.

          I think the best advice right now is to sit on your hands…

          There’s a power vacuum right now; an urgent need for a YouTube replacement/fix, and vacuums like that rarely exist for long.

      • bp

        another problem is that google sure likes to take their sweet time with processing dmca requests. it took them 12 days to process the last one that i sent them.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, Google needs to be sued again. It deliberately violates the DMCA 24/7, and the new YouTube openly encourages piracy.

          Which is odd. YouTube would’ve been dead for years without ContentID. Take ContentID away, and Eric Schmidt will be back in court. (Not that he ever left.)

          • he is government agent now

            You can’t put that guy in jail, he works for the State Department now.

          • Anonymous

            “You can’t put that guy in jail”

            We’ll see about that, won’t we…

      • Anonymous

        What about Content ID? I heard it overflags, but apart from that it seem to be working pretty well…?

        • Anonymous

          “apart from that it seem to be working pretty well…?”

          Yes, ContentID was brilliant:

          YouTube would have been dead for years without it (it was the direct and necessary reaction to the Viacom case); users had fun mashing up UGC without being sued, and owners got paid. Everybody was happy.

          Until now.

          ContentID is no longer available for thousands of artists, and YouTube will be back in court.

  5. Anonymous

    Good bye, Youtube! Hello… the next big thing, whatever that’d be!

    • Anonymous

      “Hello… the next big thing, whatever that’d be!”

      Indeed! And let’s not forget that YouTube only was an asset to musicians for the past 2 or 3 years. Prior to that, it didn’t pay well and unauthorized unmonetized user generated content was still an issue.

      So let’s look ahead now. I’ll bet we have a nice alternative 2 years from now.

      I personally hope Apple will step in and save the industry (again) — they could launch a YouTube killer tomorrow.

      • Anonymous

        And it’s safe to say that Apple is motivated…

        If it doesn’t act, it can kiss iTunes goodbye.

        • jw

          Apple would never launch a YouTube competitor. That’s just ridiculous.

          • Anonymous

            Jobs would’ve loved the idea. Cook? Well…

          • Anonymous

            Nooo, he would’ve laid down and let YouTube kill iTunes. You see, that’s the kind of man he was.

            Plus, he really liked Google and would never do anything to hurt it.

          • jw

            None of these make any business sense for Apple.

            Apple’s profit margins on it’s hardware are gargantuan. Their software initiatives are done with the singular goal of propping up their hardware division. A video service would not sell more Apple hardware, plus it would undercut their iTunes video sales. The last thing that Apple wants to do is get involved with policing user-generated content, & they have no incentive to start a Vevo competitor (or to buy Vevo). Why even get involved in an ultra-low margin, ad-driven, volume-based business when you don’t have to?

          • Anonymous

            “Why even get involved in an ultra-low margin, ad-driven, volume-based business when you don’t have to?”

            I can think of two reasons:

            1) A service like YouTube can bring in $7.2 billion in gross ad revenues per year, according to the latest eMarketer estimates. That’s really not too bad, considering it doesn’t create anything and only pays $1 billion to right holders in 8 years, and because…

            2) Consumers won’t buy any music from iTunes ever again when everything is available for free on YouTube on release day — online AND off-line.

          • jw

            YouTube is (finally) profitable for Google because they’re the king of the hill when it comes to online advertising across all formats. Apple doesn’t have the resources for that.

            And who cares about the gross profits? Youtube costs $5-6b per year to operate. And even Google operated the company at a loss for what, 5 or 6 years? If you add up all of the years of losses, I doubt that Google is net positive yet. It’s impossible to know, but that’s my hunch.

            The profit margins for iTunes are razor thin… I’ve read estimates that they make 1-2% off of music sales. That’s a net profit in the millions. So it’s not really all that big a deal. If their music sales dry up, I’m sure they’ll just transition towards products that make more sense. iPod sales are more driven by apps these days, especially among young consumers who are going to later transition to an iPhone. Apple will try to retain music consumers (as it’s still nearly half of iTunes’ gross, though that’s misleading because the free/ad supported apps are what are really driving hardware sales these days), but through iTunes Radio & their $500m Beats Music acquisition, not by sinking billions & billions into a youtube competitor.

            You’re overestimating the impact that YouTube’s service will have on consumer behavior, the impact of music sales to Apple’s bottom line, & the ability for a company without Google’s specific assets to turn a profit on video streaming, & you’re underestimating the cost & hassle of running such a service.

            Google is set up specifically to make money off of ad revenue. Apple is set up specifically to make money off of hardware sales. Just because they’re tech companies doesn’t mean that either of them can be all things to all people.

          • Anonymous

            “Youtube costs $5-6b per year to operate”

            The last numbers I saw was $700m per year (Slate). Care to share your sources?

          • jw

            YouTube netted less than $2b globally on $5.6b gross in 2013. Roughly half of the net was for U.S. At $7.2b, YouTube is expected to net $1.5b (per emarketing), so we can estimate the total gross at around $3b, which leaves $4b+ eaten up by operating costs. So my estimate was off by a fair bit. I should’ve said $4-5b, rather than $5-6b.

            The $700m figure was a rough estimate from 2009.

          • Anonymous

            “YouTube netted less than $2b […] in 2013”

            Could you please share your source?

            And another thing:

            40% of YouTube’s visitors use the site for music, according to Adage and ComScore. This doesn’t mean that 40% of its revenue comes from music, but it’s probably not that far off (feel free to post a more accurate estimate if you have one).

            So if YouTube “only” keeps a 45% cut — and it netted 2$bn in 2013 — then how could it pay less than $1.5bn to right holders over the past 8 years?

          • jw


            I haven’t taken the time to look at the financials, myself, I’m just going off of what I’ve read. But I would suggest that you’re looking at things backwards… YouTube has paid out “over a billion” to music rights holders “over the past few years,” according to YouTube’s VP of Content (via Billboard, 2/14). That comes out of their gross to produce their net. If, and I’m just ballparking here, but if music is half of their traffic, but let’s say it only accounts for $1.5b (which is a very generous number, I think) of $7.2b in 2014 gross revenue (that’s ~$675m to YT, ~$825m to rights holders at a 45/55 split), you’re left with the distinct impression that music videos are not the most profitable videos on YouTube. It surely costs more than $675 to serve up all of those views. And you’re looking at the other 50% of traffic generating 80% of revenue.

            Of course, that’s taking your word that the split is on average 45/55 & that music is half of YouTube’s traffic. I don’t know either of those to be facts.

            Personally, I get the impression that YouTube treats music as a loss leader, not a cash cow. That may be why they’re launching a subscription service, to begin actually turning a profit on those views. But that’s entirely speculation on my part.

            At least that’s how I understand all of it. Feel free to correct me.

  6. Anonymous

    How could anybody agree to this? It’s suicide!

  7. Anonymous

    @GearAndGuitars, if you see this — please post it on Gearslutz.

    It’s the biggest (and worst) music news in a decade.

    • Heh.

      Yeah, like anyone believed that twee little platitude for a second.

      • Anonymous

        Have you ever asked yourself what kind of person would come up with a slogan like that in the first place?

  8. Google is mafia

    This contract is illegal in my country. I just confirmed with my lawyer. He actually didn’t believe me when I called him and read some of the terms over the phone. I sent him the link for this post and after half an hour he called me back and said “this contract is so wrong I could write a book about it”.

    • Anonymous

      “This contract is illegal in my country”

      Significant parts seem to be illegal in the EU, as well — and that’s terrible news to Google.

      Last week, the European Commission’s incumbent Competition Commissioner and antitrust enforcer, Joaquín Almunia, accused Google of abusing its place as an online search giant and figurehead in the adverting business.

      According to New York Times, the complaints include “one relating to Google’s use of images from third-party websites and, more recently, a potential complaint about the pressure Google is putting on independent music labels to extract better terms in its negotiations for a new streaming product on YouTube

      If EU’s antitrust investigation with Google isn’t settled, Google could be fined 10% of its annual global sales. In an article yesterday, New York Times estimated the fine at $6 billion.

  9. Simon Tait

    Why is everyone posting as Anonymous??? Stand by your convictions, and sign your name FFS

    • Anonymous

      And be screwed more than usual by Google & the usual suspects? Great advice…

    • hippydog

      Quote “Why is everyone posting as Anonymous???”

      If you have been reading DMN for awhile, you will see that Google is insanely scary with the power they hold.
      Companies that depend on Google (or work with an aspect of them) have been threatened by them just for posting a comment on this site..

      I don’t blame any content creator for wanting to stay off googles ‘list’ of who to destroy next..
      OK ;-)
      thats a bit of hyperbole.. but seriously, from all the stuff I have read lately, I think the whole “Don’t Be Evil” concept has been thrown out the window,,

  10. Biz Guy

    Attention Musicians: The sky is not falling. It fell years ago with Napster, Limewire, etc. First, YOU have no idea who this contract was offered to. If it was offered to WIN, and you are not a part of that organization, it does not effect you. In fact, if you use YouTube at all, you have already opt-in to these terms. Have you even read their TOS (Terms of Service) or the TOS of any of the website you use to distribute your music?

    I understand WIN wanting to negotiate the best deal for the group of indie labels that they represent, but you must understand that YouTube has MILLIONS of partners and to negotiate every deal would result in this service never launching and therefore forfeiting potential revenue to you.

    With regards to losing iTunes sales – you know that Apple just bought Beats, who has a similar service with similar streaming rates in place. Spotify, Pandora, Deezr, et al. pay nearly 70% of their revenue to artists/labels/publishers. It’s never enough, right? Unless you want these streaming services to go out of business and watch the money they bring in dry up, then that’s what will happen if they continue to operate at a loss. Without these services, everyone will just go back to Torrent-ing albums.

    I know it’s hard to be patient, but we are in a new era of the music business and we need to give these services the time to work out their business so that it can benefit you in the long run.

    • Anonymous

      “In fact, if you use YouTube at all, you have already opt-in to these terms”

      That’s obviously not true:

      YouTube’s current TOS does not force me to provide Google with my entire catalog.

      “Apple just bought Beats, who has a similar services”

      Sorry, that’s also completely false:

      No other streaming service than YouTube forces the artist to make her entire catalog available!

      Add that YouTube even requires her to make her entire catalog available on release day — online AND off-line — and you have a situation that is absolutely unheard of. There is no longer any reason for a YouTube user to visit iTunes. He can stream everything he wants for free, online and off-line.

      “Without these services, everyone will just go back to Torrent-ing albums.”

      You couldn’t be more wrong: A long line of successful Spotify holdouts like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Coldplay, deadmau5 and Adele prove that consumers buy their favorite songs from iTunes when they can’t stream them for free.

      Google is not in the music business; Google is the world’s leading advertising agency, and it is extremely important to warn all artists against their latest scam.

      • Biz Guy

        1. Sure, you don’t have to upload your entire catalog, but you are still relinquishing other rights that are just as important. So you can’t be upset on the one hand, and then be ok with other exploitation on the other hand. Are you also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? Do you have a smart phone? Do you have a problem with these companies selling your private data? Press vinyls and stay off the Internet if you don’t want to opt-in to certain services.

        2. Great that you named artists in the top 1%. We are talking about indies, aren’t we? And you CAN find Beyoncé, Taylor and Coldplay on Spotify. Go look. Yes, they staggered their releases – that’s what they should do.

        3. The music business? Haven’t you seen Jay-Z’s multi-million dollar deal with Samsung? The music business is very much in the business of advertising. If you could get paid upfront from a brand, you would also give your music away for free.

        4. Lastly, this agreement isn’t even addressed to you or do you know what version of the agreement it is – it could be the first draft or second or third or fifteenth.

        • FarePlay

          First, your responses are totally pragmatic. You are coming from the place of justifying a bad situation, as if there was a work around that even marginally work for artists, which brings us to an impasse.

          1. I agree, scarcity is the new marketing for those who have a following that can make that happen. I think we can all agree that building a local following has far more certainty than hoping that somehow your little song and video will explode into an overnight sensation. Sometimes turning your back and walking away is the best you can do.

          2. The 1% at the top yield the power, if they have the contractual ability to control their fate and not their masters.

          3. Of course, if you’re an artist who can make a deal using your work to make serious money from a sponsorship deal, why not. We’re talking about smaller artists, who can’t chose their advertising partners and get pennies in return for their work. Plus, the intrusive advertising slathered over these videos makes them nearly unwatchable. Most listeners don’t have the time to explore; much less when the choices are endless.

          4. Does it really matter? However you slice it, what they are offering is not worth sacrifice.

          Artists have been left no choice, other than to own or be equity partners in their distribution channel. For all the credit people give the innovative brilliance of technology, why have THEY allowed monopolies like Google and Amazon dominate THEIR business. Surely, they’re hungry for new opportunities. Aren’t they?

          Sadly, the emperor has no clothes.

    • bp

      actualy, i WOULD LOVE streaming services to die up! the miniscule royalties they generate from fans that would have torrented albums are no where near enough to make up for the few fans that switch from purchasing to streaming.

  11. Anonymous

    What they are offering, didn’t exist a few years ago, so it’s found money. I know lots of people want to turn back the time to downloads, but streaming is how content is consumed today – users don’t want to host files on their computer any more. Just like how you threw away all your DVDs when you got Netflix. If you are not a top selling artist, you need to have several streams of revenue going for you if you want to play music for a living (same goes for actors). You need as many services to cut you a check as possible. Also, you need to make money on merch and touring. It’s a singles business nowadays, so you will need a pretty strong single to sell as well.

    Or simply just choose the platform/strategy that works for you. Spotify has lost $200 million since it launched but has also grossed nearly $1 billion with 70% of that being paid out to rights holders. They have 10 million paid subscribers and as they continue to scale and innovate, the pie will only grow larger. Give them time. Perhaps YouTube will succeed where Spotify has struggled or perhaps YouTube doesn’t want to lose a boatload of money trying to make YOU money. We haven’t even seen YouTube’s service, so who really knows.

    • goes both ways you know

      Or maybe Google can make their money from merchandise (sell Google t-shirts) and we can make our money from royalties, licenses and music sales.


  12. what's the matter people?

    Why isn’t this the no.1 post in every music forum in the world right now?

    Are you all so lazy that you can’t even share the link?

    Also, why can’t I find it anywhere on:

    – Reddit
    – Hacker News
    – Slashdot
    – TorrentFreak
    – a million other “tech” blogs and sites

    • Anonymous

      It’s up on The Guardian now — with a lot of weight on the controversial part where Google forces artists to make their entire catalogs available on YouTube:

      “It is understood that as of the Effective Date and throughout the Term, Provider’s entire catalogue of Provider Sound Recordings and Provider Music Videos (including Provider Music Videos delivered via a third party) will be available for the Premium and Free Services for use in connection with each type of Relevant Content, (excluding AudioSwap Recordings, which will be at Provider’s option) and set to a default policy of Monetize for both the Premium and Free Services, except as otherwise set forth in this agreement.”

      YouTube not only forces artists to make their entire catalogs available on its free service however, it also demands that it happens on release day, online AND off-line.

      This prevents future sales — i.e. YouTube users can now download all songs for free, which means there’s no need for anybody to buy music from iTunes anymore.

      • Anonymous

        …also, I think the Guardian’s a bit impressed by Paul’s attitude :) — here’s what they say:

        “Music industry site Digital Music News obtained a leaked version of the contract and published all 32 pages, with any legal hesitations not reflected in its headline: F*&K It: Here’s the Entire YouTube Contract for Indies…”

        They mention the fact that Billboard also got the contract last week but chickened out and published an (extremely weak) analysis instead of the actual document.

      • Anonymous2

        Isn’t a requirement that entire catalogues be extraordinarily problematic for any other existing distribution deal these labels have? Wouldn’t this be highly likely to violate the terms of existing distribution deals labels have, and thus make it impossible to agree to?

        • Anonymous

          I suppose the majors navigated their way out of the most extreme corners, but still…

          I’ve seen my share of contracts, but nothing remotely like this. I don’t understand how anybody can accept these terms, and for 5 years.

          • Anonymous

            Maybe those same major labels have crafted this to ensure no one will accept it. Keeps you off YouTube.

  13. Alienlifeforce

    On our planet, we believe stealing to be wrong, and there is a system whereby we can all be fairly rewarded for our efforts and successes. Stealing from one Alien Brother, impoverishes us all.
    Down on earth, men mistreat and devalue one another. We see this from afar, and wish it weren’t so.
    It’s not really so complicated. It’s a question of integrity in business. There is enough to go round for everyone.
    Google care not for man, nor art. It is they who bite the hand that feeds.
    We wish them illumination and peace on their path to enlightenment.

  14. Tom Oswald

    We at Red Dragon Records are continually innovating for the indie music business. Some of you may have seen comments I have placed on articles relating to this issue. Yesterday the final invoice was paid for the construction of a site that will accommodate all videos just like youtube has done, however, we are planning on a few nice surprises that will make it a far better platform than both facebook and youtube

    • Anonymous

      You tease! :)

      We need details! Why will your site succeed when the other 61 YouTube alternatives more or less failed?

      Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I want more than a realistic alternative to YouTube.

      • Tom Oswald

        I cannot guarantee that our site will succeed, however, it is a heavyweight competitor to youtube, it is being built from the ground up to host what we think are the best features of youtube and facebook into one platform. Also, there really isn’t a true competitor to youtube out there currently. Vimeo is not a free site to use and daily motion is not a popular site to use. We plan to fill the void that has been left by googles treatment of the indies. We will release more details as the site comes closer to it’s launch date which will be in 4 weeks or so

    • sheezy

      Tom – do you have any contact info? I’ve been working on something since 2008. I can’t divulge the name just yet, but it will be released end of summer. I’d love to speak with you or anybody who’s ready to take on Google/YouTube. We can beat them if we act as one (indies)!


      Anybody that’s interested, feel free tocontact me @ rboykin@bluboymedia.com

      There’s no 1+1=2 solution for this. It will be tough..but it CAN be done. It will take fresh, young minds for this, which I see everyday on these forums. Come join us! We will take the industry back.

  15. Bluesman

    Google’s “Do no harm” = “Rip off musicians”

    HTH Understanding. ;-)

  16. Needless Noise

    None of this contract is relevant to the rest of youtube, this is for a streaming service they are starting that’ll work ALONGSIDE youtube. No videos are getting removed, you can continue to upload anything you want to youtube just like always.

    • Content ID?

      Yes you can continue uploading, but if you don’t sign the agreement, you cannot monetize your music in videos AT ALL. You can’t monetize your own videos, or the videos where other people use your songs. At least the way it has been recently, you didn’t have to worry about other people helping to pirate your music by putting their own videos out with your songs. Heck, some bands even encouraged this. The whole “Harlem Shake” phenomenon profited greatly because their music was used virally in OTHER people’s videos. The problem with this agreement is that if you don’t sign it, you can’t make money at all on YouTube, and anybody can use your music without you profiting from it. Sure you can issue take down notices, but good luck with that “whack-a-mole” game. YouTube is forcing us to choose between releasing our stuff for free with them, or simply letting the world do it on their own (through YouTube) without compensation. Another “evil” move by Google for sure.

  17. life goes on

    We’re a UK indie label, we have this contract on our desks and we are being told by Google it is not negotiable. I know for a fact from fellow labels and distributors that it IS negotiable and has been negotiated in various different ways.

    I also know that heads are rolling at Google for the utter mess they’ve made of this situation. i’m finding it slightly amusing that everyone is suddenly talking about Spotify like they are the good guys. This shows that everything is relative in our lovely industry (it is lovely btw – I’m not being sarcastic!).

    Nature abhors a vacuum – almost as much as I do (ask my wife) – so bring on the next (NOT EVIL PLEASE) Youtube. Red Dragon Records – we really want to know more about your proposed service!

    I’d love to give my real name – but it’s not just me, I have staff and artists to consider here.

    Also – next time you reach for your Uber app to call a cab, think about this situation. Google are major stakeholders in Uber too. In that scenario, the indie cab firms are like indie labels.

    • Anonymous

      “I also know that heads are rolling at Google”

      Not fast enough.

      “Nature abhors a vacuum – almost as much as I do (ask my wife) – so bring on the next (NOT EVIL PLEASE) Youtube

      Yes, pleeease!

    • Tom Oswald

      We would love to hear from you, the more indies that get behind this the more successful it will become. The best option is google Red Dragon Records and contact us through any of our social media, or websites

  18. Tom Oswald

    Would happily give you links or email address’s but it won’t let us post them

    • Paul Resnikoff

      You can post links, email addresses, etc. They just get held for review, as spammers frequently put links in their comments.

      So, please share. We’ll approve.

  19. Mike

    Can someone please take all these image files and make a PDF, so that we can distribute it online without having to move around so many images?

    It is important to spread the leak now, otherwise Google will try and bury it.

    • Anonymous

      The story is actually popping up all over the place already — BusinessInsider, cnet, Guardian…

      • Anonymous

        And here’s a funny detail:

        Even techdirt — perhaps the most silly Google fanboy / pro-pirate / anti-music site on the planet — comes to this conclusion:

        “Once again, after looking at the details, it does seem like artists have some legitimate complaints”

        Ouch, Google! :)

        • Anonymous

          The Register mentions another preposterous detail from the contract:

          “Under the terms of the published version of the contract, indies must promise not only to never sue Google – under a “Covenant Not To Sue” – but give immunity to punters who continue to upload the label’s own material to YouTube’s massively popular video service”

          • Anonymous

            NBC and New York Times link to the story, too — which means it’s all across the globe tomorrow.

            It’s pretty much Google vs. the world now.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Mike,

      Just ‘Ctrl A’ and paste it into a Word doc. Clean it up, delete the header and comments. It’ll be a flat image based document (you can’t edit it) but it’s in a Word doc, which you could then save as a PDF.


  20. Willy C

    ” ‘Art Track’ means a complete master sound recording that is played back to a user with an accompanying image(s) that is, in each case, designated by the applicable record label (or by Google on such record label’s behalf) using tools, including auto-generation tools, provided by Google. ”

    Will Google provide labels with an ‘auto-generation tool’ to select clips they like, once the service goes live? Or will they shun the labels all together in this process? If tracks don’t have ‘official videos’, and no album artwork, nor artist footage for Google to pull from, I wonder what algorithm will be created to match appropriate visuals to the track the user plays? Will these visuals change every time a song without visuals is streamed, or will they get cracking to make sure every song without visuals has SOMETHING once they go live? Will there be a general ‘pool’ of visual content they ‘pull’ from? What will the visual content be like? Will there be a standard? Will this visual content have to fall under a CC license if it wants to be included in this ‘pool’, assuming there will be one? Will this be a new avenue for archives, video artists, and animators to get exposure, by being apart of a ‘pool’ of content for music on YouTube without a visual component? Maybe they can make some money? This all really baffles me.

    I’m imagining a highly automated VJ component, which could be really cool, regardless if they give that power exclusively to labels, or open it up to users too, making for real-time UGC (user generated content.. or curation). This could add value to an otherwise formulaic music streaming service, and with all of these audacious licenses they’ve included in the above T&C’s… it could be possible?

  21. making the news

    Hey Paul, check this out:


  22. David

    The ‘Covenant Not To Sue’ is one of the most tortuous legal provisions I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot.

    I *think* it says:

    (a) that the ‘provider’ (i.e. usually the record label) must not sue Google for copyright infringement in relation to Google’s exercise of the license granted in the contract. This is reasonable enough, except that in principle it is unnecessary, as the license is itself a cover against copyright infringement claims. That’s what a license is for! Presumably it could give Google a shortcut defense against any such claims, as they would just point to the ‘do not sue’ clause. It might also give Google a counter-action – they could claim damages for breach of the clause.

    (b) there is some odd wording implying that the provider covenants not to sue in relation to infringement by Google even *before* the agreement comes into effect. I am not sure what this covers, as it purports to apply to usage ‘in accordance with this agreement’. How can this apply to anything that happens before the agreement comes into effect, which is not on the face of it ‘in accordance with this agreement’? Are Google trying to get retrospective immunity for anything they have done in the past that *would* have been covered by the agreement if it had been in force? That would certainly be bold.

    (c) with an important exception the ‘do not sue’ clause does not stop the provider suing third parties for copyright infringement. The exception is in the last sentence of the clause. Despite several readings I am not sure what this is really aimed at. On a broad reading, it would bar the provider from suing for copyright infringement anyone who uses the provider’s music in a video uploaded to YouTube. Google might argue that this is reasonable, since all such videos are monetised, but this ignores the fact that providers may have other legitimate objections, e.g. that a third-party upload is distracting viewers from their own promotional material. Or maybe the sentence has some more innocuous meaning I have not understood.

    Anyway, I would welcome other people’s interpretations.

  23. NullCity

    I just read the entire document. Took me quite a while but still, that is not fair for the smaller indie labels. They should have at least given a different deal to the smaller ones.

  24. Anonymous

    According to New York Times, YouTube and other streaming services made $220 million for the music industry last year — about as much as vinyl records — while download sales made $2.8 billion.

    So, why is the industry willing to lose most — or all — future download sales in return for streaming revenues that not even account for 10% of the current download revenues?

    Keep in mind that YouTube is forcing artists to release their entire catalogs on YouTube’s free service for online AND off-line “streaming” on release day which means that consumers no longer have any reason to buy downloads from iTunes.

  25. music man

    If all the complainers here are so amazing that their music deserves millions of dollars, then please release your awesome music. That’s all the fan wants. They don’t want bickering, mediocre artists complaining that they are getting screwed by releasing their music. Get a producer, get some vocal lessons, get somebody to critique your music, because most of the stuff online no one listen’s to twice, let alone pays for. Oh and your competition is now the world, good luck.

    • Anonymous

      Um, yes…

      See, what you don’t understand is that it is extremely expensive to produce music in the quality consumers demand.

      So it’s all very simple:

      We can’t produce the music you want if you don’t want to pay for it. The money’s just not there…

      • music man

        “it is extremely expensive to produce music in the quality consumers demand.”

        This is incorrect. How old are you? It use to be expensive to produce recorded music, now it’s cheap. and consumers have been demanding the least amount of production possible as their choice of “quality music”. The computer is in everyones hands these days and DJ’s are getting millions to produce on headphones and software samples. The model is flipping to a performance base argument and music that doesn’t perform will lose out.

        What is going cost in the future?… producing a live performance, because that’s where the money is and that’s where artist’s must look to become better. The average individual spends 40 something bucks on recorded music, quit worrying about the recording. If you must record first, hire a producer familiar with live, not just a studio engineer.

        P.S. Your record stinks.

        • Anonymous

          “It use to be expensive to produce recorded music, now it’s cheap”

          Hehe, my god I wish you were right.

          Here are the facts:

          Studio rent is more expensive than ever. Professional studio gear is more expensive than ever. Professional instruments are more expensive than ever. Professional studio musicians are more expensive than ever. Professional mixing and mastering engineers are more expensive than ever. And no, you don’t need tape equipment anymore, but you need very expensive converters instead.

          I can assure you that you don’t get the sound consumers demand from a stolen Cubase copy in daddy’s basement. :) We all know the Nebraska exceptions for one reason only: They are exceptions.


          We can’t produce the music you want if you don’t want to pay for it. The money’s just not there…

    • Versus

      This is a straw man argument.

      The point is that people are listening to the music, but creators are not being properly compensated for it.
      If people didn’t want to listen to music, that would be another matter altogether.

  26. Anonymous

    This is getting huge — Music Publisher’s Association now support the indies, too…

  27. gazz

    oh my god,

    my thoughts becoming reality, google is the biggest nightmare .
    humans getting attacked by drones build by boston dynamics, doors in you house
    getting locked by nest. if you manage to escape you should turn of your smartphone. start
    praying not get located by skybox via satellit and biometric data.


    • Tom Oswald

      Yes there is, indies unite behind their own platform, remove themselves from the corporates which to be honest they should do anyway and then you don’t have to worry about what the googles or facebooks of this world do

  28. Realitycheck

    1 million video views earns $60.00
    the average Beyonce video ( 4 million views) earns $300.00

    Whoopee do

    • Anonymous

      Heaven knows YouTube doesn’t pay much, but this is not correct.

      It usually pays about $1/1,000 views…

    • Tiffany Gouch aka molasses jones

      We’re at 700 million for Single Ladies, but I didn’t agree to this contract so I have full rights and responsibilities to sue GOOGLE for the going rate of $250,000 per view.

      That’s what reading a contract before clicking agree means to me.

      ~The original songwriter of
      SINGLE LADIES + IF I were a Boy (Beyonce)
      No One (Alicia Keys)- 400 million views
      Touch My Body (Mariah Carey); 400 million views
      and so much more…

  29. Anonymous

    Google’s famous search algorithm broke down today!

    Or the company now tries to control the information about Indiegate:

    At any rate, if you google YouTube Music, and limit your results to ‘Past 24 hours’, the top result is a small tech blog’s story about some boring tech stuff — and it isn’t even related to music.

    You have to scroll down to find a New York Times story about YouTube’s war against small music labels…

  30. Anonymous

    Speaking of YouTube alternatives, here’s an incredibly odd story about a streaming service called Arene:

    Fans Download The Song For Free After Streaming It 5 Times, While Artists Earn $0.21 Per Song Play + MP3 Royalty

    PHOENIX, June 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — What’s after Apple-Beats and YouTube? Arena says Listen To Own. The company’s hybrid ownership model expands upon Arena’s advertised premium artist payouts of $0.21 and $0.01 per stream – figures well above the industry standard rates commercial web broadcasters like Pandora, Spotify, Beats Music, and YouTube are able to pay – by using a unique approach intended to regenerate consumer interest in owning music.

    Once a listener plays any participating single song 5 times, Arena gives the listener the MP3 file to download and own while paying the artist $0.85, in addition to the $0.21 for the 5 streams, as if the listener had purchased the song to own directly. By combining traditional download revenue with premium stream payouts, artists are able to earn a potential $1.90 per track per listener – roughly twice what the iTunes download store could pay for the same purchase.”

    SOURCE: finance (.) yahoo (I’ll post the link in a comment below — otherwise it’ll end up in DMNs spam filter.)

      • hippydog

        Paul really needs to do an article on this, its kinda interesting!


        a lot of hand waving and “facts” to make things confusing

        but as far as i can figure out. There business model is basically “give away the music for free, and sell the t-shirt”
        not kidding

        and they are charhing the artist anywhere from $150 to $500 per album setup..?? (that part confused me a bit)

        some parts seemed kinda smart, but I am still unsure how their model would actually support the high payouts they have advertising..

        I basically gotta give them kudo’s for ‘thinking out of the box’
        but a back hand for some weird stuff.. (like, calling itself “Arena” which is a HORRIBLE NAME, as it wont even show up in the first three pages of a search engine)

        • Anonymous

          “I am still unsure how their model would actually support the high payouts”

          I didn’t get that, either. And I agree, DMN should do a story on this.

          I also agree on the name, etc. — I didn’t even want to visit the site, thinking it might be some kind of scam.

          But then again, that might be completely unfair.

          • hippydog

            I sent an email out. asking them (the owner?) to submit a news article to Paul..
            We’ll see if they replay back..

  31. That dude

    New campaign slogan: “learn to hate Google.”

  32. I can help you.

    I am a musician with a lot of experience in sending DMCA notices to Google.

    If there is an indie label who doesn’t know or doesn’t want to be bothered with sending DMCA notices, I can take care of it, for 30 EUR *per week* via PayPal. Using a currency converter, that’s 40 USD for those who live in the United States.

    The only thing the label has to do is open me an email account on their system, so that they keep the information for future reference, and provide me a list of official and approved videos on YouTube.

    The rest is my problem.

    If someone is interested, leave a name and an email (don’t include @, to avoid spam) as a comment to my post. The email has to be on the label’s domain. No Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail nonsense.

  33. Anonymous

    BBC about this year’s Google I/O:

    “when a couple of the presentations in a three-hour marathon session were interrupted by protesters I suspected they might have been planted by Google to wake us up”

    Nobody seems to like Google anymore.

  34. Anonymous

    Impala, which represents more than 4,000 independent music labels and national associations of indies across Europe, complained over Google to the European Commision today, according to Reuter.

  35. Foster

    that’s enough! i dont wanna pay them anymore. i’d better take my music for free.

  36. KaLivin

    with the way YouTube is looking I hope WhatUDoing.com hurries up and has it’s music motivated art-work inspired site up and running for the end of the year. We need a site that is going to understand the consumers, the creators and the companies around us all! I’ll be observing WhatUDoing as they are in harmony with all of those things and seem to be linking artistry and even playing ground together for what may be the first real time.

  37. Nicole Broad

    Indie artists should try different ways to showcase their videos, like the app Rormix. The app helps potential fans to find artists music videos. They have artist bios, where fans can follow them, and find them on Facebook and Twitter.

    About Rormix:

    – A deal with 700+ gyms in the UK, displaying videos in front of more than 2 million people a month (So far gained 2 million views from this partnership)

    -Partnership with Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs’s US music network

    -The app has been downloaded in 170+ countries

    -Featured in The Next Web, The Huffington Post, The Times etc.

    Check out the app here:


    There’s no cost for the artist or the user, and Rormix aims to be the alternative for independent artists to promote their music videos to a targeted audience.

    Rormix now has over 20,000 monthly active users (after only less than 10 months), this is growing every day. An update will be released soon which is described as the “The tinder for discovering new music videos”. This is going to change the way people find new music on mobile.

    Try it out!

    • Blatherer

      I’m not getting anywhere near Puffy COmbs without a lot more information. Stop being such a marketing troll, and get real about what the details of the contract are. Good gawd. Learn your job.

  38. Undercurrents Live


    Music moves everyone it touches… And touches EVERYONE!

    The most important thing for you to know about Undercurrents LIVE TM is that we aren’t a faceless, corporate company driven by money.
    Undercurrents LIVETM has been completely funded by people just like you, people that love INDEPENDENT MUSIC and want to make a difference. Individuals that have been willing to commit their own money to create something important. Our primary mission is CONNECTIONS – Creating a Resource, and not just for Bands but for EVERYONE it takes to create music


    While we are starting with a social media platform, our long term objectives is to be more than that, and while we may not have all the features current social media platforms do
    – WE WILL –
    BUT THE ONLY WAY WE CAN DO THAT is if YOU support US while we launch and grow
    and invite your friends to JOIN us
    Help Us Be What we are Committed and Dedicated to Becoming


    • Blatherer

      You need to author a contract that states a couple of things for me.

      First, that you will remove my content from your service within 48 hours from your service upon my request, or your are subject to a fine – $1000?

      Second – that if your company is ever sold to ANY other company, that our agreement is instantly null and void, and you will delete my work from your service. I’ve seen SO many startups get gobbled up by majors and content flies out the door with them

  39. Anony

    What does this all mean for a random youtube music uploader like me? That does not generate hardly any income (under a dollar a month)!

    • Tiffany Gouch aka molasses jones

      It basically means you’re screwed and that you will never generate income.

  40. Julianna

    This is the first I’ve heard of this— And I’ve stumbled into here because, unbeknownst to me, my just-released album is suddenly streaming Free-For-All on YouTube. I DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE that uploading my album to Google Play would automatically do this. I’m really.not.happy. I can’t seem to find a way to link those auto generated “Art Tracks” to my actual channel – not to mention funnel the views to my website or a place where someone might actually BUY the thing. Getting angrier by the minute.

  41. Anonymous

    So who actually read this whole thing? And how many newly signed artists do you think actually read this whole thing beforehand. It looks like one of those things where you check off the “I Agree” button.

    • Tiffany Gouch aka molasses jones

      I read it. That’s why I didn’t agree to it! p.s. I am the original songwriter for Single Ladies (Beyonce): currently at 700 million views. Thank God I love to read. That CONtract for dumb artists basically says that if you agree, you can never sue and GOOGLE will pay you 9000 IF and only IF you make it to 1 million views. Otherwise, for that 1 person who didn’t agree (just like me), you have the ability to sue GOOGLE for upwards of $250,000 for each play of your work posted on GOOGLE. This is particularly true if you have no agreement for your songs to be published in the first place.

      Know your VALUE!

  42. Tiffany Gouch aka molasses jones

    From the possibly 1 person who didn’t didn’t agree to this bullshit to all indie artists: if you don’t see $$$$ on a contract, you’re not going to see $$$$ in your bank account. HA!

  43. janeser

    Would like reach more customers for your
    business without ripping your pocket?

    Contact me for more details.