YouTube says the voice of artist protest is ‘being heard’ at Google

Is YouTube about to cut a better royalties deal for artists?

At Midem last weekend, Glassnote’s Daniel Glass predicted that the Google-owned service would reach a ‘settlement’ with artists by the end of the summer.

“[YouTube] can’t be deaf to what’s going on,” said Glass – a reference to the growing number of artists, from Katy Perry to Debbie Harry and Elvis Costello, who’ve publicly challenged YouTube’s payments to artists.

Yesterday, one of those artists, Sixx:A.M (including founder member Nikki Sixx), wrote a pointed open letter to Google boss Larry Page.

“We are now appealing to you Mr. Page, as a saxophone player who ironically credits his love of music as the inspiration behind the success of the world’s most valuable company, to step up,” it read.

“As the man who coined the slogans, ‘Don’t Be Evil’ and ‘Do The Right Thing,’ we want you take your own advice before irreparable damage is done to the future of artists around the world.”

Sixx:A.M also cited the oft-quoted stat that, per stream, YouTube is paying music rights-holders around a sixth of what they get from Spotify and Apple Music.

“The voices of the artists are being heard, and we’re working through details.”

YouTube statement

YouTube has now responded, in a very interesting statement handed to MBW.

The company, which is believed to be in active negotiations with label representatives, said:

“The voices of the artists are being heard, and we’re working through details with the labels and independent music organisations who directly manage the deals with us.

“Having said that, YouTube has paid out over $3 billion to the music industry, despite being a platform that caters to largely light music listeners who spend an average of one hour per month consuming music – far less than an average Spotify or Apple Music user.

“Any comparisons of revenue from these platforms are apples and oranges.”

“The voices of the artists are being heard.”

That’s got to be good news, right?

We’ve explored YouTube’s ‘apples and oranges’ argument RE: Spotify comparisons before.

Where you sit on that one may well depend on who pays your salary…Music Business Worldwide

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