Irving Azoff and his Global Music Rights PRO have intensified their scrutiny of the new YouTube Music Key streaming service. According to a written exchange between lawyers for both sides, Azoff has questioned whether YouTube has the appropriate licenses to be streaming the songs represented by GMR. The group asked for the roughtly 20,000 songs GMR represents to be removed, but YouTube has not complied.
The video network said it had a multiyear license granting it the rights to publicly perform music from the GMR catalog, but it did not identify where those licenses came from. The Azoff camp has been pushing for YouTube to clarify why and how it has permission to play that music. For now, YouTube seems to be protected by safe harbor provisions, but those may not hold up if GMR opts to sue. According to Billboard, GMR could seek statutory damages as high as $150,000 per work, which would total up to $3 billion. Based on the more commonly awarded damages, a potential case could reasonably cost YouTube anywhere from $200 million to $1 billion in damages.