By Mihika Jindal:
If rumours are to be believed, YouTube, the biggest music sharing platform, is on its way to restrict the much enjoyed and used video streaming experience somewhere by the end of this year. It seems like Google has decided to turn YouTube into its next big piggy bank to extract maximum profits and gains.
What is really happening?
The biggest music and video sharing website is revamping its structuring. Instead of the present revenue sharing model it has been operating on with various artists and recording studios, it now wants to enhance and pave its way ahead to generate more revenue. Owing to its newly created licensing agreement, all big recording studios and Indie Artists are expected to ink the agreement agreeing to the terms and conditions, which aims to make YouTube video streaming an advertisement free and better experience. The picture around consumers paying subscriptions to watch videos is not too clear at the moment.
The proposal to launch this subscription service and the entire plot of getting the Indie Labels to sign the agreement has started a row against the company, specifically in UK, where major artists like Radio Head are under the radar, expected to face the brunt of this agreement. The Guardian reported that WIN (World Independent Network), a Global Organisation that supports and represent the Indie Labels has taken the initiative to file an investigation request with European Commission. The effect is not only limited to UK but has gone beyond the oceans where American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has filed for a similar investigation with the Federal Trade Commission to review and comment on YouTube’s business practice with Indie Labels.
The interesting part of the story is that YouTube has asked the Indies to sign on less lucrative terms than the major or put a cross on their videos, as reported by The Guardian. The imposing and seemingly arbitrary plan that has been put on the table has unfortunately left little scope for negotiation. If one has to see this situation from an independent artists’ point of view, they have practically been cornered with little choice. YouTube, a revolution in the realm of music sharing, is not quite doing justice to the now ‘age-old-practice’ of streaming and sharing. Reportedly, 95 per-cent of the industry has already assented to and signed the agreement.
Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Head of Content and Business Operations expressed in his latest interview with Financial Times that YouTube’s ban on artists from the uncooperative labels might happen “in a matter of days”. A close unnamed source to YouTube conveyed to Billboard that “the dispute with the indies is not likely to hold up [YouTube’s] plans.”
The discussion is on fire and at its peak. The labels and YouTube are expected to sit across tables. For all we know, they might come to an amicable resolution and all these speculations will vanish in thin air! For all we know, customers might not even feel the difference and status quo be maintained for times to come. But if not, we hear that YouTube has asserted that it will indeed block content from dissenting and disagreeing labels in various countries.
As an ardent YouTube-ian, I hope and pray that nothing takes away my daily dose of streaming and sharing!