There’s good news and bad news for those of us who were looking forward to YouTube’s rumored arrival in the music streaming market. The good news is that the company has confirmed it’s getting ready to launch a service that will compete with everyone from Spotify to Beats Music. Also Read - Free Fire Max launch in October: Better graphics, minimum requirements, Firelink technology and moreAlso Read - Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro: Design, camera, colours, launch date, every rumour you need to know
But the bad news is that it looks like there’s going to be a sizable hole in its music catalog. And, if things aren’t resolved certain bands and solo artists are going to be removed from the YouTube altogether. Possibly within a matter of days. That’s because YouTube’s music streaming service, expected to be called YouTube Music Pass, is going to offer a premium, subscription-based tier that will enable users to download songs and videos for offline playback, and YouTube needs to negotiate rights and terms with music labels to make this a reality. Also Read - Epic Games vs Apple: Court wants Apple to allow developers use alternative payment methods
The major labels have all put pen to paper but indie labels are currently holding out because they feel they are being forced into agreeing to less than agreeable terms. YouTube’s head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl, confirmed the current deadlock to the Financial Times on Tuesday and also said that those labels that don’t sign up will see their songs disappear from the main YouTube website “in a matter of days.”
The Google-owned video site’s stance is that the standoff isn’t a big deal as independent record labels account for just 10% of the current music industry in terms of number of artists and groups. However, that 10% accounts for almost one third (32.6%) of global music sales and streams and includes artists such as Adele and bands like The Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and of course Jack White in all of his musical incarnations, be it as the White Stripes, the Raconteurs or a solo artist.
According to Win, the trade body that supports the rights of independent music labels, the major labels have been offered more lucrative terms than their indie counterparts and that is why there is a current deadlock. In fact, WIN’s chief executive, Alison Wenham, told the Guardian that YouTube could be setting itself up for failure if it goes through with its threat. “We have tried and will continue to try to help YouTube understand just how important independent music is to any streaming service and why it should be valued accordingly. Music fans want a service that offers the complete range of music available. This is something that companies such as Spotify and Deezer do, both of whom have excellent relationships with the independent music sector,” she said.
Adding even more confusion to the issue is the global nature of the music industry. A band can be signed on multiple labels in multiple countries, some indie some mainstream, and that could lead to a situation in which US YouTube users will still be able to access the tracks of a UK band but UK users won’t. The biggest example is solo artist Adele, who is signed to XL in the UK (like Radiohead, the Prodigy and Jack White) but who is distributed by Sony elsewhere, and Sony, as one of the three biggest major labels, has already signed up to YouTube’s terms.