Warner Music videos are currently disappearing from YouTube at a rate of knots due to a breakdown in negotiations concerning a new licensing deal. Could this be the first of many companies jumping ship?
YouTube and music videos go hand in hand with each other. They are the perfect partners, offering users a chance to watch their favorite promos on demand. Unfortunately, the content providers don’t always see eye to eye with the video-sharing site.
Google currently has licensing agreements in place with the big four record companies which see music videos appearing on YouTube. Unfortunately, the existing deals are coming to an end, and both sides seem unwilling to budge on the terms they want meeting.
Warner Jumps Ship
The Warner Music Group is the first to have made a move, pulling all of its videos from YouTube. The process started on Saturday morning and is likely to continue for some time due to the sheer number of the company’s videos present on the site.
Negotiations concerning a new licensing agreement are thought to have broken down on Friday, with neither side wanting to budge from their positions. Which one of the two made the decision to take Warner content from the site still isn’t clear, with both sides claiming the higher ground.
Two Sides, Same Story
The Warner Music Group issued a statement saying:
“We are working actively to find a resolution with YouTube that would enable the return of our artists’ content to the site. Until then, we simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide.”
While Google had the following to say:
“Sometimes, if we can’t reach acceptable business terms, we must part ways with successful partners. For example, you may notice videos that contain music owned by Warner Music Group being blocked from the site.”
Everyone’s A Winner
This is a strange decision from both sides because, on paper at least, everyone benefit from the popularity of music videos on the site, either monetarily or traffic-wise.
Music videos are a huge part of YouTube, as evidenced by Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend being the most viewed video of all time. This brings in lots of traffic and some revenue, at least on the videos that are monetized.
The record companies meanwhile make money on every single video every time it is played, so they win massively. In fact, YouTube is an increasingly large part of the music industry’s revenue stream, with CD sales falling and record companies looking to broaden their consumer base.
More To Come?
It could that Warner is merely the first of the big four to drop out. Universal, Sony, and EMI all have deals soon coming to an end and Universal seems keen to launch its own music video portal to rid it of the need for a middle man.
Music videos disappearing from YouTube is bad for everyone: Google, the record companies, and those of us who view the damn things. But unless one side backs down then this situation could spiral until YouTube is devoid of music videos altogether.
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