Madonna, Metalica, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers are just a few of the groups that Warner Music Group has pulled from the video sharing site, YouTube. It appears that contract renewal talks between Warner Music Group and YouTube have broken down and the result is that YouTube users will begin to gradually see Warner’s music videos disappearing from the site.
There have been conflicting news stories as to who began removing the videos from the YouTube site. YouTube announced recently that the WMG videos would be gradually removed from their site, but Google, who owns YouTube, would not say if it was the label or YouTube who pulled the videos.
If you click on the official Warner Music Group channel on YouTube, you will be met with an empty video player. But if you visit the individual YouTube channels of various Warner’s artists such as “My Chemical Romance” or “Nickleback”, you’ll find there are plenty of videos still up and running.
Warner was one of the first major labels to strike a deal with YouTube, licensing the site to show their artist’s videos. This deal was instrumental in leading to the $1.65 billion buyout of YouTube by search engine giant Google.
In the beginning, Warner, Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, all received small stakes in YouTube as part of a music-video licensing agreement deal. Under the terms of that deal, the music labels were to receive either a minimum fee each time the videos were viewed or a share of the advertising revenue, whichever sum is greater.
One music executive said that YouTube has generated tens of millions of dollars for their label. This make one wonder just how much money Warner is walking away from if they pull their videos from the site altogether. Also with YouTube’s huge promotional impact, it’s obvious that the site is relevant to the success of many of their artists, even if the advertising revenues were not substantial. For any new group, not appearing on YouTube would be a huge mistake in marketing and promotion.
Warner’s argument is that YouTube is not fairly compensating recording artists, songwriters, labels, and publishers for their musical content. Since the start of the internet, the music industry has had to adapt and drastically change the way it sells and is paid for its products. However, some would argue that the promotional value of the site, which puts Warner’s products (videos) in front of millions of potential consumers, would be enough to justify leaving the music videos on YouTube.