Sony Music Boss Loves YouTube, Hates GEMA

1 min read

Sony Music LogoWait, what? There’s a music label executive who thinks the Internet is a force for good? Wonders will never cease. Unfortunately his viewpoint will not enable German music fans to watch music videos on YouTube anytime soon.


In Germany GEMA handles the rights of copyright owners. Unfortunately its monopoly position means it has pushed for higher rates per performance. With music videos on YouTube the group asked Google to pay 16 cents per stream, and music videos have consequently not been available in Germany since March 2009.

From what I gather this is a lot higher than the rate set by other performance rights organizations around the world. Many of which Google is happy to work with to ensure music videos are playable and that everyone gets paid fairly.

An Optimistic Music Exec Speaks

One man not happy about this situation is Sony Music’s CEO of international business, who recently defended the Internet and what it has done for the music industry. He said:

“There is absolutely nothing to complain about. The Internet is a great stroke of luck for the music industry, or better: the Internet is a blessing for us. You can not blame the Internet for harmful excesses. On the contrary. It has brought us tremendous new opportunities.”

He was then asked why music videos from artists on his record label are not available on YouTube, to which he replied:

“It’s not because of us. You must direct this question to the German collecting agency GEMA, they licensed the copyright very restrictively.”

While we’re focused on music videos, Berger would also like to see streaming music services made available in Germany, saying:

“We want to see streaming services like Vevo and Spotify in the German market. [These platforms] must not be blocked by GEMA any longer. Artists and music companies are losing sales in the millions.”


The problem for Sony, and every other record label for that matter, is they’re tied into the system that effectively puts GEMA in control of the way music is licensed in Germany. If they don’t like the way GEMA operates it would take years, and the jumping through of several rather large hoops, to extract itself from the situation.

At least the bigger picture suggest that not all high-ranking execs at media companies think of the Internet as the spawn of the devil that will lead to death and destruction of everyone involved in the creative industries. If only more took the progressive view of Edgar Berger.

[Via TorrentFreak]