It’s been an uphill battle for indie musicians to make a living. Forever. Dwindling CD sales haven’t helped much, either, along with the pittances paid by streaming radio stations like Pandora and Spotify.
Well, as rumored, YouTube is planning a premium subscription music service now. And, as expected, indie artists are apparently getting way worse deals than the major labels. If they don’t sign onto the new service as it rolls out, they risk being dropped from YouTube “in a matter of days.”
That would be fine if YouTube wasn’t aggressively persuading (ahem, forcing) indies to join the music service.
From The Guardian:
[Trade organization] WIN claims that the company [YouTube] has signed lucrative licensing deals with major labels Universal, Warner and Sony, while demanding that independent labels sign up to inferior terms or face having their videos blocked from YouTube’s free service.
Seem a little harsh? Maybe, you might be thinking, the videos would just be blocked from YouTube’s new music service, not the whole site. According to WIN – and clarified by The Guardian:
“If labels don’t sign up for YouTube’s new paid music service at the (non-negotiable) terms, their entire catalogues will be blocked on YouTube – all of YouTube, not just the new premium bit.”
That means the rug has essentially been ripped out from underneath musicians’ feet. All of the music videos, albums, and songs independent artists have uploaded to YouTube, the things that have gotten thousands upon thousands of views for YouTube… might disappear. If you don’t sign something.
So how did we get here? And is there any escape?