Record labels aren't getting their fair slice of the pie when it comes to YouTube revenue generated by their music videos. The labels are contemplating pulling their content from the streaming service.
Monetization for the airing of streaming music and video has been a popular subject lately. Just how streaming services compensate artists and record labels for the rights to air their content has come under scrutiny. As streaming becomes even bigger business as opposed to purchasing actual digital copies of individual tracks, everyone wants a piece of the action.
Just weeks ago, the battle came to the forefront when Taylor Swift called out Apple Music on its decision not to compensate artists for streams of their music on the new service during the three-month trial period it was offering all subscribers. The pop star wrote an open letter criticizing the move and Apple soon capitulated, agreeing to pay artists for the streams during the trial, although at a reduced rate.
The debate rages on, and now it appears as if the record labels are unhappy with the lack of monetary compensation they receive from YouTube, which is owned by Google and is not only the top video streaming service in the world but also leads in music as well.
The labels are reportedly considering pulling their videos from the service altogether. "They are not serious about monetizing music on behalf of creators and, as a result, music companies are realizing they have to reset the current relationship," according to an industry source.
According to the labels, Google controls all aspects of the monetization process for content streamed on the network, and therefore they aren't even given a breakdown on the revenue generated by the specific content they contribute.
YouTube is on a roll, with an uptick of over 60 percent in viewership last quarter and an increase in advertising. "The number of advertisers running video ads on YouTube is up more than 40 percent [compared with a year ago] and, for our top 100 advertisers, the average spend per advertiser is up over 60 percent year-over-year," said Omid Kordestani, Google's chief business officer.
Record labels want some of that ad revenue, but if they pull their videos from the service in protest, they might wind up losing more money if people post their own videos.