Musicians and labels are unhappy with the largest video hosting, but they continue to use it

YouTube is fighting off criticism again. This time the focus has shifted from quality of recommendations to interact with musicians. The last unhappy with the size compensation for streams, complain about monopolization industry and criticized by all major platforms. Those, in turn, shift the blame to YouTube and, together with the labels, are in no hurry to change anything.

Photo: Leon Bublitz.  Source: Unsplash.com
Photo: Leon Bublitz. Source: Unsplash.com

No money left

Authors and performers of musical works are increasingly sharing their personal experience of earning money and criticizing the sites for insignificant payments. In the case of The Flashbulb, they made up 24 thousand dollars for 7 million plays. That’s $ 0.003 per stream on Spotify, with most of the money eventually going into equipment and recording parts with the help of third-party musicians. Comparable data for this site – $ 0.0035-0.004 per listening – led and RAC, Grammy Award Winner. To compare nine platforms, one was enough for him tweet

As the example of this musician shows, compensation for a million YouTube streams exceeds income from Pandora and SoundCloud. However, representatives of the British Association of Phonogram Producers believe that it is the largest video hosting service that is holding back the growth of payments to musicians. In their opinionSpotify pays “ten times as much,” and YouTube also “promotes free content” and prevents other streaming services from increasing the cost of monthly payments to listeners, and thus distributing more substantial amounts among the authors of the tracks. That’s what He speaks expert: “The cost of a subscription to music services has not changed for almost ten years, and while time passes, inflation is doing its job. There are also sites like YouTube on the market, where users pay almost nothing compared to the Spotify audience. “

It is worth noting that direct attacks supported competitors of this platform – for example, Elena Segal, the global director of publishing at Apple Music. She stated that “it is very difficult to fight for a listener with free alternatives.”

What’s the answer

Communication with representatives of platforms and specialized associations was initiated by the Parliamentary Committee on Digital Environment, Culture, Media and Sports [Digital Culture, Media and Sport Committee, DCMS] United Kingdom. As part of the regular hearings – the management of the world’s largest video hosting rejected accusations of record low payments to musicians compared to compensation provided by other streaming platforms. However, he nevertheless admitted that the settlement procedure should be made more transparent.

At the same time, YouTube’s director of government relations reminded parliamentarians and industry experts that the site provides tools to combat piracy and drew attention to the unfair approach to the distribution of income between creators and music labels. Unfortunately, the Commission never asked the latter why they continue to use video hosting and publish tracks on a platform that could negatively affect their income and payments to musicians.

Photo: lucas Favre.  Source: Unsplash.com
Photo: lucas Favre. Source: Unsplash.com

Most likely, it is solely a matter of economic interest. Even taking into account the fact that someone pirates streams, puts other people’s music in the public domain and bypasses the Content ID tracking system due to numerous tricks, YouTube is already paying huge sums to copyright holders. In 2020 alone, the service transferred about $ 12 billion to authors and labels, and by 2025 its management plans become the leader in this indicator among all players in the music industry, including competitors in streaming music.

What does it mean

It should be admitted that few people will give up the possibility of instant streaming of almost any of the existing musical compositions and will want to return to buying discs. [хотя в этом есть свои преимущества]… Paying a dollar per track or a cent per stream is an option that not everyone is willing to accept either. The variable cost of streaming albums? Then you can simply forget about playlists. It seems that there are no ready-made proposals that could positively affect payments to musicians and arrange both labels and online platforms. Therefore, we have yet to find out what they will be.


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