YouTube just hit the big red button in its fight with musicians over streaming music.
Any artist who doesn't want to join YouTube's new ad-free music service will be scrubbed from the site entirely, the company said on Tuesday. The service, which will show you ad-free songs for a small fee, has been in the works for a while, but some artists are not happy with the financial arrangements YouTube is proposing.
YouTube's head of content and business operations told the Financial Times that artists who aren't happy with the new rules, including Adele, the Arctic Monkeys and Jack White, will be blacklisted from YouTube in "a matter of days."
That's right, soon you won't be able to listen to Adele's "Someone Like You."
Or The Arctic Monkeys' "Do I Wanna Know?"
(The Arctic Monkeys were one of the first bands to gain fame through the Internet, by the way.)
Google plans to begin testing ad-free YouTube among Google employees in the coming weeks.
The new streaming music service will help musicians make even more money off of YouTube, the company told The Huffington Post in a statement. However, YouTube hasn't publicly disclosed the terms of the deals surrounding the new service. The website is already the world's largest online streamer of music.
“Our goal is to continue making YouTube an amazing music experience, both as a global platform for fans and artists to connect, and as a revenue source for the music industry," a YouTube spokesperson told HuffPost. "We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind -- to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year."
Of all the music labels that have previously signed deals with YouTube to share ad revenue, only 5 percent of them have not yet signed up for the new service, a YouTube spokesperson told the Huffington Post.
All hope is not lost for Adele fans, however. Third-party video-hosting services that have agreed to new deals with YouTube will continue to be able to use the music of banned artists. Or at least, that's what a Vevo spokesperson told TechCrunch. This means that Adele, who works with Vevo, will still have a YouTube presence in some form:
Making matters even more confusing, different artists sign to different labels in different countries. And that means that a musician's work might soon be available in one country but not another, a YouTube spokesperson told HuffPost.
Just about every big tech company you can think of is driving into streaming music. Amazon launched its own service for Amazon Prime members just last week. Apple bought Beats Electronics in part for its Spotify-like streamer just last month.
And in a testament to how saturated this market is, Google already has a streaming music service out there with Google All Access.
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