YouTube resumes negotiations with indie labels for new music service

wordle - youtube 300wA cease-fire has reportedly been established in the confusing hostility between Google-owned YouTube, which is building a subscription-based, music-only streaming service to start this summer, and indie-label groups that wish to have their content included. After an apparent break in talks, marked by protests from the label side, negotiations have resumed.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Google’s has not made good its weeks-old threat to block unsigned indie content from YouTube. That threat (really more like a promise) was the culmination of an antagonistic negotiating round during which label groups made official complaints of unfair negotiating tactics to European regulatory agencies.

The issue of blocked content in muddy. Although a Google representative was explicit about the company’s intent to “block,” it has never been clear whether the block would apply to the new (as yet un-launched) service, the existing YouTube platform, or, in the latter case, only the label’s ability to activate advertisements in the videos.

Google’s public attitude to the stormy controversy has been nonchalant. Head of content Robert Kyncle was quoted saying, “While we wish that we had 100 percent success rate, we understand that it is not likely an achievable goal and therefore it is our responsibility to our users and the industry to launch the enhanced user experience.”

As of now, evidently, Google believes that extending the contracting effort is a worthwhile effort in the face of poor publicity and potential regulatory action in Europe.

Brad Hill