YouTube Music is about to launch and with it comes a big change for independent and underground musicians. Just so we get off on the right foot, it’s going to suck…
Youtube is going to release a new service called YouTube Music in the summer of 2014. This service will be similar to Spotify and other streaming. The problem with this changeover is YouTube has been working on deals with the big labels to make it worth it and leaving the smaller labels to deal with their new terms of agreement. Not only that, but YouTube has now threatened to block the content of any independent label that declines to sign their non-negotiable contracts.
The contracts currently offered to independent labels from YouTube are on highly unfavorable, and non-negotiable terms, and undervalue existing rates in the marketplace for existing music streaming partners such as Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and others.
Currently Spotify only pays out a fraction of a penny per play. I actually get thousands of plays. Even sometimes over 100,000 and I will only see $20-$40 from Spotify. If YouTube is doing even less than that for independent artist then that is even worse.
Here is where the kicker comes in though. YouTube is already taking down tons of videos from their normal stream to prepare for the new YouTube Music. If you have your own music on YouTube do not be surprised if it is taken down during this Coup d’état. This will most likely only apply to videos that include music going on the new service, but if you are like me as a musician you might want to be on as many things as possible and losing these videos is a big deal.
Last but not least, YouTube will be shutting down it’s monetization from videos that contain music that has not been submitted to YouTube’s music streaming service. That means if you have a video on their normal stream and your label signs up for the new YouTube Music then you will not be able to monetize them. Worst of all there is no one to talk to at YouTube. No one… ever. So you can;t check in on the status of things, what will happen to past revenue, or anything.