It looked like YouTube’s feud with independent music labels was dying down with the video giant all but declaring victory last week and then issuing a last minute stay of execution for the remaining holdouts. However, far from being over it seems that the conflict is heating up again with the BASCA, The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors, issuing a statement in support of the independent music labels currently locked in a contract dispute with YouTube.
In the statement, BASCA declared its solidarity with WIN (the Worldwide Independent Network), the trade group representing independent music labels. Of particular concern to songwriters are the heavy-handed negotiating tactics allegedly used by Google to secure cooperation and the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in the contract negotiation process. BASCA claims that the use of NDAs in contract negotiations makes it difficult for songwriters to assign blame when profits from digital streaming of their work take a downturn as they have in recent years.
Songwriters are often amongst the hardest hit by digital streaming of music. While labels are quick to secure relatively favorable terms for artist and for licensers, songwriters often receive little in the way of residuals compared to those who participate on other parts of the music production and distribution process. Despite these concerns, most major labels have already agreed to the terms that YouTube offered for its new streaming service. Though indie labels have garnered support from other music industry groups YouTube has indicated that it is prepared to proceed without them but has held off on dropping their content entirely for the time being.