Azoff rips YouTube: A ‘take down’ should be a ‘stay down’

Irving Azoff canvasThe music industry critiques against YouTube have been joined by another influential voice. Irving Azoff, an artist manager and CEO/Chairman of Azoff MSG Entertainment, penned an open letter to the video platform with responses to YouTube’s recent blog post that aimed to address the current wave of artist and label concerns.

First, he called on YouTube to grant artists control over whether their content appears on the free service or only for members of the paid Red subscription. He tied that lack of creative control to concerns over the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the requirement that artists or labels need to submit takedown notices for every new infringement. “When the artist sends a ‘take down,’ it should be a ‘stay down,’” Azoff said. He argued that YouTube’s ability to manage its own original content and curtail any offensive uploads shows that the video platform has simply chosen not to give music creators the same powers.

Second, he debated YouTube’s positive statements about the licensing deals it has made with labels. “YouTube has benefitted from the unfair advantage which safe harbors gives you: Labels can take the deals you offer or engage in an impossible, expensive game of “whack a mole,” while the music they control is still being exploited without any compensation,” he said.

He finally called on YouTube to be more transparent about its financials and licensing deals, and about the full range of content management controls at its disposal.

Anna Washenko