Google to Offer YouTube Music Pass, But Indie Labels May Suffer

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(Photo by Dan R. Krauss/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dan R. Krauss/Getty Images)

When it comes to music video sharing, YouTube seems to dominate the market. Though its competitors Vimeo and DailyMotion are gaining popularity, YouTube has been the go-to source for music video premieres and general content sharing.  But, the music world may get a sad realization with Google’s new YouTube Music Pass.

The subscription-based service is catered towards record labels and offers different revenue sharing options for music video promotion.  Though YouTube has a number of revenue-gaining sources already, they are working on different ways to increase the bottom line.  Currently, they offer pre-roll advertising, pop up ads and Vevo annotations which offer artists another line of revenue for a music video.  Their new service is, according to them, another way to “bring music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year.”

But, there’s a catch.

Google’s head of content Robert Kyncl told the Financial Times it plans to start blocking videos from record labels that have not signed licensing deals with YouTube Music Pass.  This means any videos uploaded by a number of indie record labels will be blocked from YouTube.  On the list of unsigned labels includes XL Recordings and Domino Records, whose rosters include Adele and Arctic Monkeys.

While Google has signed on with the three major labels Sony, Warner and Universal, several indie labels believe Google is giving them bad terms on their contracts.

YouTube has always been a service that allowed unsigned and undiscovered musicians a chance to find fame, including Justin Bieber and Colbie Caillat.  With new rules, YouTube will cut off the ability for artists to go viral.

Google sent a statement about their new service, ignoring the argument at hand and instead focusing on the possible revenue gain for labels.

“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,” the statement reads.  “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.”

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