Please don’t stop the music.
Videos of independent labels that have refused to agree to deals on for a new paid subscription offering will soon find their videos blocked, according to a report from the Financial Times.
YouTube confirmed to Mashable that a subscription music service is in the works.
“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,” a YouTube spokesperson wrote in an email. “We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind — to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year. We are excited that hundreds of major and independent labels are already partnering with us.”
The move marks the end of an era for YouTube, which originally launched as an inclusive platform for legal user content to be viewed by all. Now, the site that helped usher in the era of streaming video will take one of its biggest steps in commoditizing its success.
The streaming video site also doubles as the most popular streaming music platform, and Google is looking to capitalize on that popularity. But not all labels are on board with the revenue split being offered.
Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head of business, told the FT that 90% of the industry is on board, with mostly indie labels holding out. Some of those labels are home to popular European artists, including Adele and the Arctic Monkeys, as well as American artists such as Jack White.
The details of YouTube’s music service that have emerged so far make it sound quite similar to services such as Spotify. Users will be able to access YouTube’s considerable music library on demand on desktop and mobile devices without ads. There will also be an option for listening to selected songs offline.
The company’s willingness to play hardball with indie labels follow on various other recent disputes over digital royalties in music and e-books. Amazon’s new music service, which recently launched as a part of its Prime offering, has yet to come to terms with Universal Music Group. Amazon is currently in a standoff with book publisher Hachette.
FT and The Guardian reported that WIN, a music industry organization, has filed a complaint with the European Commission, alleging that YouTube is offering different terms to indie labels than it has granted to larger labels.