YouTube has already compelled Indie labels to sign up to an agreement ('Merlin') that few would argue is fair. Now it seems the wholly independent artist, not even signed to an Indie but self-distributing through the likes of BandCamp, are being threatened with losing their channels if they don't agree to sign up to YouTube's new subscription service. The terms on 'offer' are dreadful. So much for the bold new digital world?
Merlin is an 'indie labels licensing agency'.
Music Key is Google's answer to Spotify, a music subscription service with a monthly fee, run through YouTube. Amazon has been quick to respond, bundling its own music service into a refreshed 'Prime' offer.
BandCamp is an online distributor targeted at Indies, offering free streams of some tracks and paid downloads of albums.
Keating’s YouTube channel has 19 videos with a total of just under 520,000 views since she joined the service in 2007.
However, her blogpost explains that she also uses YouTube’s “content ID” system to get a credit and sometimes a share of ad revenues from the nearly 10,000 videos uploaded by other people that feature her music.
Those videos were watched 250,000 times in the last month alone, according to Keating, who claims YouTube has told her she will lose the ability to use content ID if her channel is blocked.
She also sets out the terms that she is being asked to sign up to for Music Key:
1) All of my catalogue must be included in both the free and premium music service. Even if I don’t deliver all my music, because I’m a music partner, anything that a 3rd party uploads with my info in the description will be automatically included in the music service too.
2) All songs will be set to “montetise”, meaning there will be ads on them.
3) I will be required to release new music on Youtube at the same time I release it anywhere else. So no more releasing to my core fans first on Bandcamp and then on iTunes.
4) All my catalogue must be uploaded at high resolution, according to Google’s standard which is currently 320 kbps.
5) The contract lasts for 5 years.