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MPG weighs in on YouTube indie label row

The Music Producers Guild blasts “Google’s apparent abuse of its monopoly […] and the adverse effect this will have on the wider industry".

The Music Producers Guild has weighed in on the ongoing controversy over YouTube’s decision to block music videos from labels which have refused to agree terms with the video-sharing site as it prepares to launch a Spotify-like subscription service.

In a statement issued on Friday, the MPG board said: “With regards to the recent dispute between YouTube and independent labels and the unfavourable terms which YouTube seeks, without negotiation, to impose upon independent record labels, the Music Producers Guild is deeply concerned about [YouTube owner] Google’s apparent abuse of its monopoly and associated market power and the adverse effect this will have on the wider industry and funds available for innovative and creative content production in the future.

“Independent record producers everywhere, in common with recording artists, rely upon the income from sales and streaming of music files, the production of which they have been responsible, often with little or no credit ¬– itself ironic in this digital age. Attempts by international media conglomerates to throttle negotiation and impose unfavourable and unjust terms upon independent record companies, whom they perceive to be ‘small fry’ and thus fair game, should be opposed at every opportunity.”

Speaking to the Financial Times, Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations at YouTube, said videos from independents could be blocked “in a matter of days” if new licenses are not negotiated. Big-name musicians likely to be affected include Arctic Monkeys (frontman Alex Turner pictured – photo: Tom Cookson), Radiohead and Adele – all of whom are signed to independents who have so far refused YouTube’s renegotiated contracts

The BBC reports that even if blocks do go ahead, it is believed that content from artists signed to indie labels will remain available on YouTube via channels like Vevo, the joint venture between Universal and Sony Music (two of the ‘big three’ labels). However, videos which are exclusively licensed by independent record labels, such as acoustic sets or live performances, will still be taken down.