YouTube threatens to block Radiohead, Jack White and more - Reverb

YouTube threatens to block Radiohead, Jack White and more

YouTube has threatened to take down videos by artists such as Radiohead, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Adele and many more, due to their record labels working together to refuse the licensing terms put forth by Google’s video streaming site, according to the Financial Times. The terms are part of YouTube’s upcoming subscription-based music service, ala Spotify, Apple’s Beats Music and Amazon’s Prime music service.

YouTube will start blocking videos “in a matter of days,” in an effort to get all content under the new terms of the platform, said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of content and business operations, according to Financial Times.

The new service will offer a paid, ad-free service along with its current free and ad-filled offerings. The artists’ music videos will possibly still be available on YouTube channels such as Vevo, but live performances or acoustic sets may be taken off the site, according to the BBC.

Labels including XL, Domino, 4AD and Cooking Vinyl are being represented by groups such as the rights agency Merlin and IMPALA, a European trade body for independent music companies, who claim the terms are “highly unfavorable.” Kyncl disagrees, without going into specific contractual details he said, “We’re paying them fairly and consistently with the industry.”

He stated that 95 percent of the music industry has signed into the agreements on the new platform.

Musicians like Ed O’Brien of Radiohead argue that YouTube is stromg-arming labels into accepting unsatisfactory fees while “creating an internet just for the superstars and big businesses.”

“They are in danger of launching a streaming service that lacks the innovative and cutting edge sounds that independent artists bring. Would music fans be willing to pay for such an inferior product? I don’t think so,” musician Billy Bragg said, according to The Guardian.

The video service has more than 1 billion monthly visitors and will begin internal testing of its new subscription service in the coming days, according to Kyncl.

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James Garcia is a community reporter at the Loveland Reporter-Herald and a new blogger at Reverb. Follow him on Twitter @JamesGarciaRH.