The subscription music streaming service that YouTube has been working on for the best part of the year and which should have been launched about half a dozen times if we were to listen to rumors is finally getting closer to its release date. The bad news is that it’s already causing a lot of controversy due to a quarrel with independent music labels.
According to The Guardian, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) has pointed the accusatory finger at YouTube saying that it has been trying to force indie labels to sign up to the new service and accept a template contract, which the company said couldn’t be altered. If they did not accept to sign it, YouTube threatened to block their videos on the platform.
WIN was apparently supposed to expose the entire thing in the media with a press release, but it looks like YouTube got to them first and launched a new series of negotiations.
With or without a press release, the story is out there and things don’t look good for YouTube. “Our members are small businesses who rely on a variety of income streams to invest in new talent. They are being told by one of the largest companies in the world to accept terms that are out of step with the marketplace for streaming,” Alison Wenham, WIN chief executive, said in the original release.
YouTube has provided a blank comment once again, mentioning how the platform successfully deals with hundreds of independent and major labels around the world. While it didn’t directly confirm the news about the music streaming service or its troubles, it did mention that the company did not comment on ongoing negotiations, which is pretty much the same thing as confirming the story.
There also seem to be a lot of issues with how much YouTube is willing to pay indie labels. Music Connected is telling the publication that it’s quite ironic that the service that pays the least is the service that’s the best funded and run by the biggest company in the world.
It seems like YouTube is betting on its popularity to attract customers to its new subscription-based service. Considering YouTube’s popularity, it looks like the company is expecting to become quite popular soon and bypass competing services such as Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and others. Under these circumstances, it could be that YouTube would actually pay labels quite a bit more than these other companies due to high traffic.