YouTube wages war on independent record labels

The streaming site is about to delete videos from independently-signed musicians like FKA twigs over a royalties dispute

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FKA-Twig
XL musicians like FKA twigs could see their videos dropped from YouTube

YouTube is about to launch its own music streaming service, but some independent record labels have been left out in the cold. The Google-owned site is planning to delete music videos from labels that haven't signed up to its new royalty terms – which means that artists like The xx, FKA twigs and Tyler the Creator could see their videos disappear from YouTube in a matter of days. 

Indie labels like XL and Domino are unhappy with the deal that they're being offered as part of YouTube's new on-demand streaming service. According to World Independent Network, which represents the independent music industry, YouTube is trying to cooerce indie labels into accepting unfair terms that offer smaller payouts than competitors like Spotify and Deezer. 

"By not giving their subscribers access to independent music YouTube is setting itself up for failure," said Alison Wenham, the CEO of WIN. "The vast majority of independent labels around the world are disappointed at the lack of respect and understanding shown by YouTube."

Major labels like Sony, Warner and Universal, have already signed up to YouTube's new terms. A spokesperson for Google said that their goal for the new service was to make YouTube "an amazing music experience, both as a global platform for fans and artists to connect, and a revenue source of the music industry". 

That looks increasingly unlikely unless it reaches an agreement with the dissenting labels. Until then, YouTube have confirmed that they will begin removing material by artists signed to these companies – which means that YouTube's music landscape will soon look very different. 

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