The contributions YouTube has provided to the music industry are undeniable, with an open platform for all artists; YouTube has undoubtedly pushed the bar for not only major labels but more importantly independent artists. As success proceeds YouTube are set to introduce a subscription music service that will allow users, at a cost, to watch and listen to music without ads as well download songs to their mobile devices.
Mentioned by the company’s head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl claims the service, rumored to be called ‘YouTube Music Pass’, will launch later in the year however early testing are set to take place. With this in motion, independent labels who do not sign licensing deals are at threat of their artist’s content being blocked which include big names such as Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Jack White and Radiohead. Their videos could be gone “within a matter of days” if they refuse to sign.
Representing the independent music industry; chief executive of WIN, Alison Wenham, argues against:
“They have suffered a simple but catastrophic error of judgement in misreading the market. 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. By not giving their subscribers access to independent music YouTube is setting itself up for failure. The vast majority of independent labels around the world are disappointed at the lack of respect and understanding shown by YouTube.”
With YouTube entering the music subscription market, they will compete against established services such as Spotify, Apple’s Beats Music and Google’s Google Play Music All Access. It is claimed that major record labels Universal, Sony and Warner have already agreed to the newly proposed service with independent labels postponing their confirmation due to inferior and ‘highly unfavorable’ terms.
Despite the opposition Kyncl ensures they are to press ahead:
“While we wish that we had 100% success rate, we understand that is not likely an achievable goal and therefore it is our responsibility to our users and the industry to launch the enhanced music experience.”