A week after all but declaring victory over independent music labels who had contested the terms of the contracts it offered for its upcoming streaming music service, YouTube has issued a last minute reprieve to the holdouts.
WIN, a trade group representing a handful of European indie labels, had previously filed a complaint with the European commission claiming that the terms of the now leaked contract were unfavorable and that YouTube’s negotiating tactics constituted bullying. The video giant had originally threatened to block content from labels that wouldn’t agree to the terms of the new streaming contract, or in some cases to prevent monetization of videos from artists associated with those labels.
Now YouTube is backing down from that threat, the Financial Times reports. The company has agreed to suspend its plans to block content while it negotiates with Merlin, the licensing group that represents most of the remaining independent holdouts. Though they have extended the deadline for negotiations, YouTube still retains the right to block content in the future giving it a powerful tool at the negotiating table.
Will indie labels back down or will YouTube be forced to make a concession?
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