Blog Post

Warner Music and YouTube in a Spat

Videos from Warner Music (s WMG) recording artists (Madonna, Metallica) are being removed from YouTube (S GOOG) because of a breakdown in licensing negotiations between the two sides.

There’s been some he said/she said as to who is at fault, with both sides issuing statements. AllThingsD reports that both sides were close to a deal when Warner changed the terms, and in response Google made the decision to pull Warner music videos. According to The New York Times, the deal between YouTube and Warner expired many months ago (YouTube’s deals with other major music labels including Sony, Universal and EMI will be expiring soon). Of course, this is all probably a ploy, as one side tries to wring better terms out of the other (see NBC v. Apple), and neither side appears to be in any rush to yank the content, as Madonna and Metallica‘s YouTube channels are still up.

The Times also notes that Warner reported $639 million in digital revenue for the fiscal year that ended in September and less than 1 percent of that was from YouTube’s ads and fees, which would be less than $6.39 million. Earlier this week, Universal Music said that it was making “tens of millions” in revenue from YouTube.

Obviously it’s in YouTube’s best interest to keep music videos on the site. Six of the top 10 videos of all time on YouTube are music videos, and just days ago YouTube launched a special music section on the site to make it easier for people to find videos and music-related content. And it’s in the labels’ best interest to keep their videos up on YouTube, as it has become a defacto MTV for an entire generation, and it could become honest-to-gosh music television as more set-top boxes become YouTube-enabled (and stream in 720p to the TV).

And sure, people could just Google their favorite music video, but YouTube now accounts for 25 percent of all Google searches. Why scatter those people around the web when you could concentrate them on one site and ideally increase the total number of videos played?

25 Responses to “Warner Music and YouTube in a Spat”

  1. I am looking into alternatives for my videos on Youtube, a friend recommended me
    they have all this original, globally collected music by fabulous musicians who choose to share their music using a creative commons license. You can totally add it onto your videos (once you remove the warner’s music) – you can even use the music legally in commercials, etc. The musicians put it out there in the hopes of getting way more exposure and getting heard by more people. If you use it anywhere, you just have to acknowledge the musician. You get new sounds, the musicians get heard, win-win.

    If you are looking for music just like I do, this is a good one!

  2. Neno Brown

    The fact of the matter is Warner, Universal, and the rest of the partners see greater value in building there own media platform,
    This would make more sense than just purley relying on youtube traffic.

    Youtube is good if you want to promote your trailers for your own web offering etc.. but it YT is not some kind of ad cash cow, I think the media companies have realised that the google ad magic is an ellusion.

    Universal claim 10’s of millions in profits, but I think this is youtubes way of setteling out of court.

    Stinks of “Diffusion” to me.

  3. Madonna is being taken off youtube? It IS Christmas!
    It’s a shame that Led Zeppelin’s stuff is being taken off, though. That’s actually stuff I listen to often, but the “official” page for Zep is still up.