YouTube today announced that it has agreed to a large settlement with a songwriting rights trade group, in what outsiders view as an attempt to play nice with the music industry. The New York Times reports that the online streaming service is widely believed to be the most popular site for music, and that musicians feel they haven't been fairly compensated by the Google-owned giant.
The settlement, which is reportedly worth more than $40 million (although YouTube wouldn't confirm this), is with the National Music Publishers’ Association. The group manages songwriting royalties, and is allegedly upset that much of the music on YouTube doesn't properly list songwriters and their publishes. Without this information, the argument goes, those artists are not getting revenue that they are due.
“We appreciate YouTube’s willingness to work with us on behalf of the industry to help pay out millions of dollars in previously unclaimed royalties to publishers and songwriters,” NMPA President and CEO David Israelite said in a statement. “It is essential that we work with digital services like YouTube - the most popular digital platform for music discovery - to fix the challenge of incomplete ownership information to ensure royalties are no longer unmatched and music owners are paid accurately by the platforms that rely on their work.”
In addition to the cash, the Times reports that the settlement will allow the NMPA to access internal YouTube data showing which songs have incomplete data. “The revenue earned by the music industry on YouTube continues to grow significantly year over year, and we’re committed to making sure that publishers are paid for the usage of their works on our platform,” explained Tamara Hrivnak, YouTube’s head of music partnerships for the Americas, in a statement.
And while this may be a win for the trade group, all at YouTube is still not right in the music world according to recording industry group IFPI. "YouTube, the world's largest on-demand music service, is not paying artists and producers anything like a fair rate for music," the group said in a statement yesterday following a separate YouTube announcement regarding $1 billion in paid out advertising revenue to the music industry. "This highlights more than ever the need for legislative action to address the 'value gap' that is denying music rights holders a fair return for their work."