British Songwriters Issue a Statement Against YouTube…

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The British Academy of Songwriters has issued a statement supporting independent labels in their battle against YouTube’s music service contract.  Last week, YouTube told uncooperative indie labels that if an agreement could not be reached, then content would be pulled.

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BASCA, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and home of The Ivors, is officially announcing its support and solidarity for WIN (Worldwide Independent Network who represent the interests of independent record labels worldwide), IMPALA (independent record labels in Europe) and AIM (independent record labels in the UK) in their campaign against Youtube’s deal making practices with independent labels.

BASCA firmly believes that negotiations between all parties should be fairly and transparently conducted. Youtube are imposing unfair contracting conditions on independent labels and they also insist collecting societies make contracts under nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) which mean that they cannot share with their own membership the rates achieved for their work. This prevents writers from being able to complain about the downturn in their income from some digital sources, a matter BASCA members are increasingly concerned about.

BASCA Chairman Simon Darlow, co-writer of Slave to the Rhythm (Grace Jones) and numerous hits for artists from Cliff Richard and Toyah, now a media composer of more than 130 TV themes including the Premier League anthem, BBC news channels, talkSPORT radio and shows for Chris Tarrant:

“BASCA is against NDAs which hide what appear to be poor streaming rates for songwriters and composers. We cannot afford to let these practices undermine the value of songwriting and composing and leave the music industry with a talent drain which will affect the UK both culturally and financially.”

Platinum award winning BASCA member Sharleen Spiteri, lead singer of Texas:

“Songwriters fully support independent record labels in their fight to get better terms and deals from Youtube. It’s about time we all made some noise about the way they negotiate with take-it-or-leave-it deals. It might be a little easier for writers like myself who also perform … but for those who do not and now have to rely on streaming income, the current rates are just not enough.”

BASCA member Barry Mason, winner of 5 Ivors and writer of dozens of international chart toppers such as Delilah (Tom Jones), Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) (Edison Lighthouse) and many others for David Essex, Rod Stewart, Petula Clark, Elvis Presley, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tony Christie and Barbra Streisand:

“Someone must be making money out of the music on YouTube but it certainly isn’t the people who write the songs … Delilah would need to be streamed roughly 113,250 times for Les Reed and I to earn enough for a coffee each at Starbucks.”

Grammy Award winning songwriter and BASCA member Victoria Horn, writer for many contemporary Worldwide artists including Dirty Vegas, Enrique Iglesias(feat. Kelis), Selena Gomez / Katy Perry, Armin Van Buuren, Demi Lovato, Tiesto and Rusko:

“My Armin Van Buurens single. “Alone” is number 8 in the US Billboard chart but I’ve earned virtually nothing from the 1st wave of EDM radio play which started a year ago. How sad to find that a song can earn so little for those who created it while being a license to print money for others.”

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28 Responses

  1. FarePlay

    So encouraging to see artists standing up for their rights. I’m using fewer YouTube in my posts and elsewhere and encourage others to do the same. If I do want to use a clip I try and find it elsewhere.

    I am seeing more videos being taken down and reposted on YouTube, which means they are dangerously close to blowing their cover based on the number of take down notices. I guess all of this cuts both ways. It is sad to see the level of greed in an industry that once prided itself as being a positive revolution providing visibility and access to everyone.

    Like the entertainment industry before them, successful tech companies end up being run by lawyers and finance guy who tend to squeeze the creativity out of organizations.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah — YouTube had it all, and it blew it.

      There was always this odd discrepancy between YouTube and its evil Google twin, but now they’re finally one. 🙁

      I don’t even want YouTube to go back to the way it was anymore. I just want it to go away.

  2. anonymous

    YouTube doesn’t care. They know that every day tens of thousands of people will get a new smart phone and they’ll be there to give free content to these people who expect free content. “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly”. Thomas Paine was talking about liberty but the same rule applies to everything else. Everyone wants everything and we want it free and immediately. A few British songwriters ain’t gonna change the new normal. Broadband ain’t the problem, it’s the sheep!!!

    • Anonymous

      “Everyone wants everything and we want it free”

      There’s nothing wrong with that.

      And for the first time in history, we were able to give people what they wanted: All the music they love — for free.

      The service grew like crazy. Everybody could watch, mash up and upload whatever they wanted for free without getting in trouble. Content owners got paid. YouTube made millions. Everybody was happy.

      Then Google screwed it up.

  3. this is serious

    Google just gave a four month “leave” to the person in charge of Google Search. They are in panic. Google Search is a total mess during the last 24 months or so.

  4. Anonymous

    According to Musicweek today, YouTube netted $1.5 billion in advertising revenue 2013 after sharing with content providers.

    But the interesting part is that YouTube only paid a total of $1.2 billion to said content providers — since 2006.

    Music accounts for at least 40% (and probably more) of all YouTube content.

    So where did the rest of the money go?

  5. David

    Glad to see someone highlighting the scandal of NDAs in particular. There are legitimate commercial reasons for NDAs in some cases, but this is not one of them.

  6. Versus

    It is time for the EU to move to break up GoogleTube. The monopoly must die.

    • Anonymous


      Perhaps Germany could launch a YouTube alternative… 🙂

  7. Giomakyo

    “Youtube are imposing unfair contracting conditions on independent labels and they also insist collecting societies make contracts under nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) which mean that they cannot share with their own membership the rates achieved for their work.”

    In the Google empire, it seems information should be free… unless it’s their information.

    Some animals are more equal than others …

    • Anonymous

      How very strange — here’s what Eric Schmidt said about secrets:

      ““If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.””

  8. Anonymous

    If I were Tom Oswald, I’d launch that YouTube replacement as soon as possible.

    As you’ll see below, Google blinks now. And that’s likely to turn off some of the heat — for some time. But Google is Google and we need that YouTube alternative!

    From Musicweek today:
    “A number of UK independent labels are feeling positive that a fair deal will be reached with YouTube for its upcoming streaming service, despite receiving harsh warnings from the platform in the past.

    Execs from Hospital Records, Stolen Recordings, Mute Group and Faith & Hope Recordings discussed the issue at AIM’s Question Time Panel ahead of its AGM in London today.

    Hospital co-founder Chris Goss said peers have noticed a change in tone from the Google-owned site in the past week that seems to signal an agreement is not far away.


    Answering a question on how important YouTube is as a promotion platform, Goss (pictured) said: “It’s the first place people wanting to hear our music will go, but the best way it will date is it if loses independent content.

    “That’s a clear indication as to why those takedowns will never happen. It’s been an extremely challenging few months for everyone and it’s fascinating to see how this is now panning out. Potentially that tide is just starting to turn – Google have realised they have made a right mess of this.


    Merida Sussex – founder of Stolen Recordings – reiterated the importance of the independent label’s content in ensuring YouTube doesn’t reach the same fate as Myspace.

    “I’ve felt really empowered by being a part of that group that’s trying to challenge and change because I think YouTube just thought everyone would just fold,” Sussex explained. “I’m really proud to be part of that stance and I think it will work out because I think they think, “Oh, we suddenly look a bit rubbish and we might not have cool things anymore,”

    “Once the kids go, “See you later, I’m going to go to Vimeo,” they will date in a hot minute. Myspace used to be everywhere and we thought that was so forever. The rug could get pulled out very quickly.”

  9. Brad

    Nothing will happen while the TOP artists and songwriters are making money in this business. indi or otherwise the corporations have the money and the laws on their side and goverment does not care as they are not for the people, they are for the corporations .

    • Tom Oswald

      Our platform is going to be called It is due to be released for beta testing on the 22nd July and available to the public on the 1st August

      • Anonymous

        Uh, you’ll have to rethink that name!

        1) It has to sound good.
        2) It has to look good.
        3) It needs 1 or 2 syllables (unless it sounds extremely cool).
        4) It needs 8 or less characters (unless it sounds extremely cool).
        5) It shouldn’t remind us of dead sites (e.g. NetScape).

        • Anonymous

          …I should add that I completely support your initiative. We desperately need a YouTube alternative — that’s why it’s crucial to find the right name.

          Look for old or rare words related to film/streaming/audiences/flow/etc and play around (misspell, modernize, cut or add characters, etc.). Or just go for a cool and funny sound.

          OR hire somebody to do it for you.

          • Anonymous

            …also, did you even google ‘your’ name?

            “Vidiscape® is a registered trademark used for Graphical User Interface Software and owned by Vidiva Inc.”

            Don’t ever use a word that’s already trademarked or used in commerce.

          • Tom Oswald

            Vidiscape was a trademark, it has been cancelled under a section 8. Whilst i fully agree with you regarding the name, the single biggest problem has been finding a domain name that is available. There are a vast amount of domain names that people are just sitting on. We have hired outside consultants and all agreed that considering what was available as a .com this was the best choice we could have.

            I agree with all of your points, but again, after 10 plus years of .com domain names being sold the available names are extremely limited and we have to work with what we can get

          • Tom Oswald

            just as a further note, Vidiva inc the company that owned vidiscape is also no longer in existence

          • Anonymous

            Thank you Tom, I should have done a trademark search. Sorry about that, it’s good to hear everything’s cleared.

            No, it’s not easy to find a good .com these days. The best route may be to invent a word. A good sound. Sometimes repetition works.

            Then there’s the ‘’ solution. I’m not sure I would do it myself, but I have tempted more than once. Especially with the arrival of all the new suffixes.

            I really want you to succeed, but names are so very important. They have to be easy to remember for everybody, including kids.

          • Tom Oswald

            You are welcome, thank you for your feedback though. We do have a facebook group that currently consists of 150 people, not a large group but a varying selection of people of ages, sex and back grounds and all suggestions go in front of them prior to being approved (or potentially disapproved) and Vidiscape won. However we have since changed the name to ‘’ which is slightly better in the sense it is harder to misspell when it is heard.

            As a final note we put out a call to transfer youtube channels over to our new platform for launch yesterday and as of this morning have over 10,000 videos to populate the site with

            We will be offering a video transferring service to anyone who wants to migrate, I will also point out that this service does not remove or affect your existing youtube channel or videos in anywany. It’s just we understand alot of people probably don;t want to lose all of their videos if they migrate

  10. Versus

    What about the other elephant in the living room, the massive uncompensated piracy that YouTube enables?
    There are not only songs, but entire albums on YouTube. Nothing is done (DMCA is a joke). No penalty to the uploader either, even if reported. Why aren’t the uploaders banned from YouTube?

    • Tom Oswald

      We will respect DMCA’s against any videos on our site as quickly as is possible

  11. Anonymous

    Meanwhile, Google is still busy destroying what may be left of its reputation:

    A Google executive shooting up drugs and hiring prostitutes contrasts sharply with the spic-and-span public image of Silicon Valley as a place where geeks in hoodies sleep under their desks and devote their lives to inventing the next big thing.

    But people here say that illicit activity is not uncommon.”

    Tell me about it…

    SOURCE: USA Today

    • Anonymous

      …more in the Daily Mail:

      “The high-priced prostitute allegedly met [Google exex Forrest] Hayes, the married father of five, on website ‘Seeking Arrangement’ which pairs ‘sugar babies’ with rich older men or women.”

      And while Google’s old fatcats enjoy their sex, drugs and rock’n’ roll, the corporation has ordered an online music magazine to censor innocent album covers because they are “sexually explicit”:

      “Drowned in Sound, an award-winning website, was told that it couldn’t show the images next to anything on Google’s advertising network.

      Sean Adams, founder of Drowned in Sound, said some of things Google asked to be removed were “ridiculous”.

      He said it included a picture of someone “in his pants”.

      “Google said if we didn’t comply by Friday they’d pull all of their advertising,””

      SOURCE: BBCs Newsbeat, July9, 2014