No, not a GBCW.
What was, a couple of weeks ago, just a rumor, is now confirmed: YouTube will boot from its site the videos of independent musicians who refuse it's self-determined "lowest in the industry" royalty rate on its new music streaming service.
YouTube Is About To Delete Independent Artists From Its Siteneowin, quoting a behind-the-paywall Financial Times story, had an even more disingenuous quote from Kyncl:
In only “a matter of days”, some of your favorite videos on YouTube could be gone, possibly for good.
YouTube is preparing to radically change their site, adding a subscription service that is intended to help them compete in the streaming music industry. The Google-owned video site has already signed new licensing deals with all of the major labels, but many independents are refusing to take part. Apparently, not only are smaller, indie labels not being offered the same deals as the majors, but the contracts that Google is putting in front of them are less than fair.
In order to show their muscle, Google has stated that any label—meaning smaller, independent ones—that does not sign a deal with them will not only be left off the new service, but will have their content taken down from the original, free YouTube. Vice President and Global Head of Business at YouTube Robert Kyncl recently claimed that they already had deals with 90% of the industry, and that they had no choice but to move forward.
"While we wish that we had [a] 100% success rate," Kyncl told the FT, "we understand that is not likely an achievable goal and therefore it is our responsibility to our users and the industry to launch the enhanced music experience." He added that YouTube had offered everyone a fair deal: "We're paying them fairly and consistently with the industry."As an independent musician who's made maybe six bucks off of YouTube ads, and as a freejack political ad maker who uses YouTube as a platform, I'm despairing. I've not even received any notification from Google about the changes, so I don't even know if I'm in or out.
That assessment is at odds with what some others in the music industry have said. According to Chris Cooke, from industry news site Complete Music Update, "YouTube already pays what are probably the lowest rates in the business for music labels' videos. The majors and independents agreed to that because YouTube isn't just a revenue stream; it's one of the most important promotional platforms in music today."
If this is the end, well, it's been fun. Enjoy 'em while you can:
Update, the First: I've downloaded all 130-something of my vids to a single drive (they were scattered over half a dozen computers) and begun copying all the descriptions and tags in preparation to mirroring the channel on Vimeo. Tech note: I used YouTube Downloader, a good ripper/converter, but warning: it will install crap on your browser, making Yahoo! your first choice search engine, etc.
I'll let you know when the Vimeo channel(s) go up.