In dispute with indie labels, YouTube threatens to remove videos from Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, and more

on June 17, 2014, 2:34pm

Video streaming giant YouTube is expected to soon launch a new subscription service, though there’s a high probability it will be void of your favorite artists. According to Financial Times, a coalition of independent record labels, including XL, Domino, 4AD, and Cooking Vinyl, are refusing to sign YouTube’s “highly unfavorable [licensing] terms.” Adding to the drama, YouTube is now threatening to remove videos affiliated with these labels from its entire platform.

Financial Times reports that the videos in question could be removed “in a matter of days.” The takedown would affect artists such as Radiohead, Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, among many others.

Update: According to Rolling Stone, a rep for YouTube denied the charge of a “mass cull,” saying the accusations were a negotiating tactic. Rather, the rap said YouTube would block content from the unsigned labels, in certain countries, as part of predetermined contract agreements.

In response, groups representing these indies, such as IMPALA (European independents association), Worldwide Independent Network, and Featured Artists Coalition, have appealed to the European Commission to prevent YouTube’s takedown. While their videos could still be available on YouTube via channels like Vevo, musicians like Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, who co-chairs the Featured Artists Coalition, fear YouTube is “creating an internet just for the superstars and big businesses”.

Billy Bragg, also a vocal proponent for indies, told Music Week: “YouTube are shooting themselves in the foot with their attempt to strong-arm independent labels into signing up to such low rates. They’re in danger of launching a streaming service that lacks the innovative and cutting edge sounds that independent artists bring.”

YouTube, which was purchased by Google in 2006, is planning to join the ranks of Amazon, Beats Music, and Spotify at the forefront of new subscription based services. For a fee, YouTube would allow users to access YouTube’s considerable music library on demand on desktop and mobile devices free of ads and an internet connection. A YouTube representative told the BBC, “Our goal is to continue making YouTube an amazing music experience, both as a global platform for fans and artists to connect, and as a revenue source for the music industry.”

Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Global Head of Business, declined to go into specifics regarding specific artist rates, but told Financial Times, “We’re paying them fairly and consistently with the industry.” Since 2006, Financial Times reports that “YouTube has paid out more than $1bn to the music industry through licensing deals that allow rights holders to take a share of its advertising revenues.” With the new deal Kyncl is confident, “That number is going to double.”

Below, watch XL artist Vampire Weekend’s music video for “Giving Up the Gun” before it’s too late.


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September 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm

An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting
a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast due
to the fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me
to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this topic here on your website.

July 25, 2014 at 1:25 pm

It’s impressive that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from
our discussion made at this place.

June 30, 2014 at 5:54 am Has just launched an new Youtube Alternative site called This site gives you 100% control 100% fan reach and best of all its 100% free and will always be. Check it out and Signup. The site is like youtube meets the old myspace meets facebook meets tumbler

June 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

The takedown would affect artists such as Radiohead, Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, among many others. I saw it here . Thanks

June 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Just another instance of pay for plays, like the radio. So only the things that are paid for by the large powers will be heard and viewed. The whole point of Youtube used to be that YOU could create the TUBE.

June 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm

That’s great. My husband died and has over 20 years of videos that have been uploaded by fans since around the early 2000′s. Our 10 year old daughter watches them to see Dad…. see him young…. see him well, before he got sick. Youtube…. you take those down, you’re not just robbing the public….. You’re throwing daggers at survivors of a great man who has passed. I’m sure there are many more people in this boat. I’d also like my new original stuff to stay. Bullies

June 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

It doesn’t really matter because hipsters be loving Vimeo.

Barb Walker
June 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm

one finger salute you tube your services so far have not been great to begin with

June 18, 2014 at 9:42 am

In the update paragraph, it says rap, but I think you meant rep.

June 18, 2014 at 8:11 am

I hope bands and people out their (in bands/musicians) use any power they can or their voice and try to help speak against this – not sure if it’ll work but, something needs to be said/done at least. Unfortunately though theres no hope for users “revolting” since the main audience of people on YouTube for music, unfortunately are the kids listening to the top 40 pop/hip hop artists so they’re not affected or wouldn’t care enough for something like this.

Matt B
June 17, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Youtube! You have enough money. YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEYYYYYYY


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