It’s funny. Following the YouTube vs PRS spat last week, where the former blocked UK users from watching most music videos, many commenters erupted into anti-major-label vitriol, completely ignoring the fact that the labels aren’t involved in this argument at all.
Instead the debate centres around PRS for Music, which pays something called songwriter royalties, based on ‘public performances’ – YouTube, music in shops, nightclubs, radio, etc. These royalties exist completely seperately from the major label ecosystem, so blaming the ‘big four’ is a little unfair here.
Google’s short-term PR win might be placed in jeopardy, however, after Pete Waterman – who co-write “Never Gonna Give You Up” – revealed that he’s earnt just £11 from the 40 million+ views on the song on YouTube. YouTube wants to halve the fees that it’s paying to the PRS.
UK Music, an umbrella body of umbrella bodies in the British music industry, has labelled YouTube and Google ‘cyncial and exploitative’. It certainly seems to fly in the face of the corportations ‘Do No Evil’ mantra.
What’s your feeling on the matter? Is this a music industry failing to adapt to new technology and consumer behaviour? Or is Google taking advantage of consumer distrust of the music industry to desperately try to make YouTube profitable? Drop us an email, or a tweet, with your opinion and we’ll publish the best.
UPDATE: Several prominent music analysts are calling bullshit on this one. The best writeup is on the Music Ally blog.